Reading

Reading

Updated: 6/18/18

“Altogether I think that we should read only books that bite and sting us. If a book we are reading does not shake us awake like a blow on the skull, why bother reading it in the first place? So that it can ‘make us happy,’ as you put it? Good God, we’d be just as happy if we had no books at all. What we need are books that hit us like the most painful misfortune, that make us feel as though we had been banished to the woods. A book must be an axe for the frozen sea within us.” – Kafka

Marvin Rosen’s Recommended Reading List for Me:

The Ginger Man by J.P. Donleavy

Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner by Alan Sillitoe

Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann

De Profundis by Oscar Wilde

Man’s Worldly Goods by Leo Huberman

Revolution, European Radicals from Hus to Lenin by C.H. George

Capital, Volumes 1, 2, & 3 by Karl Marx

In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn

 

2018

Hang Time, My Life in Basketball

Elgin Baylor w/ Alan Eisenstock

 

Wait Till Next year

Doris Kearns Goodwin

 

1954: The Year Willie Mays and the First Generation of Black Superstars Changed Major League Baseball Forever

Bill Madden

 

Confessions of a Coach

Norm Sloan w/ Larry Guest

 

Veeck as in Wreck

Bill Veeck w/ Ed Linn

 

The Rise and Fall of the Bible

Timothy Beale

 

Writer, Sailor, Soldier, Spy, Hemingway’s Secret Adventures 1935-1961

Nicholas Reynolds

 

Ethics

Spinoza

 

2017

Golden Days

Jack McCallum

 

The Spooky Art

Norman Mailer

 

The King of Sport

Gregg Easterbrook

 

Stamped from the Beginning, The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America

Ibram X. Kendi

 

The War that Killed Achilles

Caroline Alexander

 

Rise and Fire

Shawn Fury

 

Furious George

George Karl

 

The Cave and the Light

Arthur Herman

 

Hemingway at War

Terry Mort

 

Missing Out

Adam Phillips

 

The Underground Railroad

Colson Whitehead

 

2016

Dropped Names

Frank Langella

 

The Rivalry: Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain . . .

John Taylor

 

Blood, Bone, Marrow, Biography of Harry Crews

Ted Geltner

 

The Murder of Sonny Liston

Shaun Assael

 

Give War and Peace a Chance

Andrew D. Kaufman

 

Fates and Furies

Lauren Groff

 

Absence of the Hero

Charles Bukowski

 

Quixote, The Novel and the World

Ilan Stavans

 

The Legends Club

John Feinstein

 

The Year of Lear

James Shapiro

 

The Game’s Not Over

Gregg Easterbrook

 

The Lost Gospel of Judas Iscariot

Bart D. Ehrman

 

Tropic of Cancer

Henry Miller

 

Renegade, Henry Miller and the Making of Tropic of Cancer

Frederick Turner

 

Zen and the Birds of Appetite

Thomas Merton

 

The Nihilesthete

Richard Kalich

 

The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

Edward Gibbon

 

Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh

John Lahr

 

Homer

Ed. George Steiner and Robert Fagles

 

Notebooks

Tennessee Williams

 

Notes of a Dirty Old Man

Charles Bukowski

 

 

2015

Cannery Row

John Steinbeck

 

 

Orson Welles’ Last Movie

Josh Karp

 

Shakespeare is Hard but So Is Life

Fintan O’Toole

 

Never Call Retreat

Bruce Catton

 

Shakespeare, His Life, His Language, His Theater

Sam Schoenbaum

 

The Essential Brecht

John Fuegi

 

Our Kind of People

Lawrence Otis Graham

 

The Idea of Decline in Western History

Arthur Herman

 

The Counter-Revolution of 1776

Gerald Horne

 

The Trojan War

Bernard Evslin

 

Paradise Lost

John Milton

 

Fields of Blood

Karen Armstrong

 

 

 

2014

 

The Man with the Golden Touch

Sinclair McCay

 

Facing Jordan

Sean Deveney, ed.

 

Maddog 100 Greatest Sports Arguments

Christopher Russo

 

The Anatomy of Influence

Harold Bloom

 

How Jesus Became God

Bart D. Ehrman

 

Running with the Kenyans

Adharanand Finn

 

Zealot, The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth

Reza Aslin

 

Work Done for Hire

Joe Haldeman

 

No god but God

Reza Aslin

 

Inventing Hell

Jon. M. Sweeney

 

Genesis, Truman, American Jews, and the Origins of the Arab-Israeli Conflict

John B. Judis

 

MFA VS NYC, The Two Cultures of American Fiction

Ed. Chad Harbach

 

Finding Florid

J. D. Allman

 

Lunches with Orson

Peter Biskind, Henry Jaglom, Orson Welles

 

Talk Show

Dick Cavett

 

A Reader on Reading

Alberto Manguel

 

Boxing

Gerald R. Gems

 

Aspects of the Novel

E.M. Forster

 

The Fixer

Bernard Malamud

 

Existential Errands

Norman Mailer

 

Showtime (Lakers)

Jeff Perlman

 

A Farewell to Arms

Ernest Hemingway

 

Dylan

Dennis McDougal

 

Players First

John Calipari

 

Wooden

Seth Davis

 

Assisted

John Stockton

 

Professor Borges

Jorge Luis Borges (Author), Martín Hadis (Editor), Martín Arias (Editor), Katherine Silver (Translator)

 

Monsignor Quixote

Graham Green

 

Public Enemy

Bill Ayers

 

The Renaissance

Paul Johnson

P84

 

Call Me Burroughs

Barry Miles

 

Mailer

  1. Michael Lennon

 

Hemingway’s Nonfiction

Robert O. Stephens

 

 

Summer 2013

 

How to Win a Cosmic War

Reza Aslan

 

An Atheist in the Foxhole

Joe Muto

 

Team of Rivals

Doris Kearns Goodwin

 

The Enlightenment (p208)

Anthony Pagdan

 

Karl Marx

Jonathan Sperber

 

The Flaneur

Edmund White

 

A Scandal in Bohemia

Arthur Conan Doyle

 

The Redheaded League

Arthur Conan Doyle

 

A Case of Identity

Arthur Conan Doyle

 

A Book Forged in Hell

Steven Nadler

 

2013

 

Spring 2013

The Color of Christ

Edward J. Blum and Paul Harvey

 

Diary of Samuel Pepys (abridged)

Audiobook ready by Kenneth Brannagh

 

From Russia with Love

Ian Fleming

 

The Immortal Game

David Shenk

 

Paul and Jesus

James D. Tabor

 

The Swerve

Stephen Greenblatt

 

Evolution of the Word

Marcus J. Borg

 

Drift

Rachel Maddow

 

Gauguin

Francoise Cachin

 

Naked Lunch

William S. Burroughs

 

Dream Team

Jack McCallum

 

Did Jesus Exist?

Bart D. Ehrman

 

The New Hate

Arthur Goldwag

 

 

Fall/Winter 2012-2013

 

Ways of Seeing

John Berger

 

How to Live – Life of Montaigne

Sarah Bakewell

 

Actors at Work

Techler & Kaplan

 

Bad Religion

Ross Douthat

 

Queer

William S. Burroughs

 

The Future of an Illusion

Sigmund Freud

 

Death of a Salesman

Arthur Miller

 

Junky

William S. Burroughs

 

The Shakespeare Thefts

  1. Rasmussen

 

To the Finland Station

Edmund Wilson

 

The Sign of the Four

Arthur Conan Doyle

 

 

Summer 2012

 

Green Hills of Africa

Ernest Hemingway

 

A Study in Scarlet

Arthur Conan Doyle

 

Witness

Whittaker Chambers

 

Hemingway’s Boat

Paul Hendrickson

 

 

Spring 2012

The Last Great Game

Gene Wojciechowski

 

One on One

John Feinstein

 

Buckley

Carl T. Bogus

 

Ex-Friends

Norman Podhoretz

 

The Masks of God, Creative Mythology

Joseph Campbell

 

How Proust Can Change Your Life

Alain de Botton

 

Why Marx Was Right

Terry Eagleton

 

 

 

Winter 2011-2012

 

Walking a Literary Labyrinth

Nancy M. Malone

 

The Meaning of Life

Terry Eagleton

 

Running and Being

George Sheehan

 

All that is Solid Melts into Air

Marshall Berman

 

An Accidental Sportswriter

Robert Lipsyte

 

Divinity of Doubt

Vincent Bugliosi

 

11/22/63

Stephen King

 

Bento’s Sketchbook

John Berger

 

 

Fall 2011

The Story of Philosophy

Will Durant

 

Sunrise Over Fallujah

Walter Dean Myers

 

Brecht in Exile

Bruce Cook

 

Summer 2011

The Philosophy of History

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

 

The Fantasticks

Thom Jones & Harvey Schmidt

 

Aesthetics and History

Bernard Berenson

 

About Looking

John Berger

 

The Secret Knowledge

David Mamet

 

Riders of the Purple Sage

Zane Grey

 

 

Spring 2011

Don Quixote

Miguel de Cervantes

 

The Wreck of Western Culture

John Carroll

 

That Was Then, This Is Now

S.E. Hinton

 

Tex

S.E. Hinton

 

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Mark Twain

 

The Wind in the Willows

Kenneth Grahame

 

The Adventures of Ulysses

Bernard Evslin

 

Heroes, Gods, and Monsters

Bernard Evslin

 

The Pigman

Paul Zindel

 

The Pigman and Me

Paul Zindel

 

 

Winter 2010-2011

 

A Reading Diary

Alberto Manguel

 

Are We Born Racist?

Edited by Jason Marsh

 

Abortion, The Clash of Absolutes

Laurence H. Tribe

 

The Poem that Changed America

Howl, Fifty Years Later

Edited by Jason Shinder

 

The Bridge

David Remnick

 

What I Talk About When I Talk about Running

Haruki Murakami

 

How Fiction Works

James Woods

 

The Art of a Beautiful Game

Chris Ballard

 

Jesus Interrupted

Bart Ehrman

 

Best American Essays 2010

Edited by Christopher Hitchens

Series editor Robert Atwan

 

 

Fall 2010

 

The Philosophy of Spinoza

Josseph Ratner

 

The Obama Education Plan

Education Week

 

The Annotated Mona Lisa

Carol Strickland

 

The Story of Libraries

Fred Lerner

 

Italian Painters of the Renaissance

Bernard Berenson

 

 

Summer 2010

 

Best American Poetry 2009

Edited by David Wagoner

 

The Book of Basketball

Bill Simmons

 

A Thousand Clowns

Herb Gardner

 

 

Spring 2010

 

Contested Will

James Shapiro

 

The Runner’s Body

Ross Tucker & Jonathan Dugas

 

Losing My Religion

William Lobdell

 

Win Your Case

Gerry Spence

 

Why Are Jew Liberals?

Norman Podhoretz

 

The Making of African America

Ira Berlin

 

A People’s History of Florida

Adam Wasserman

 

The Book of Genesis Illustrated

  1. Crumb

 

 

Winter 2009-2010

 

Chicago

Dominc A. Pacyga

 

Michelangelo and the Reinvention of the Human Body

James Hall

 

On Writing

Stephen King

 

Michelangelo’s Notebook

Paul Christopher

 

The Book of William

Paul Collins

 

Thinking about Memoir

Abigail Thomas

 

How Lincoln Learned to Read

Daniel Wolff

 

 

Fall 2009

 

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Edward Albee

 

Collected Stories

Saul Bellow

 

Wanderings

Chaim Potok

 

 

Summer 2009

 

The Pentagon of Power

Volume Two: The Myth of the Machine

Lewis Mumford

 

The Novels of Hermann Hesse

Theodore Ziolkowski

 

The Seekers

Daniel J. Boorstin

 

Demian

Hermann Hesse

 

Oberemmergau

James Shapiro

 

 

Spring 2009

 

Selected Essays

Montaigne

 

The Bible, a Biography

Karen Armstrong

 

Reflections on the Human Condition

Eric Hoffer

 

 

Winter 2008-2009

 

Sayonara Michelangelo

Waldemar Januczcak

 

Rimbaud

Edmund White

 

Why You Should Read Kafka Before You Waste Your Life

James Hawes

 

Sailing Home

Norman Fischer

 

Selected Essays

Gore Vidal

 

Fall 2008

 

The Anatomist

Bill Hayes

 

Shakespeare & Co.

Stanley Wells

 

The Key to Renaissance Art

Jose Fernandez Arenas

 

Shakespeare’s Philosophy

Colin McGinn

 

The Historical Jesus

John Dominic Crossan

 

The Essential Jesus

John Dominic Crossan

 

 

 

Summer 2008

 

Who Wrote the New Testament?

Burton L. Mack

 

The Mind in the Cave

David Lewis-Williams

 

The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder

Vincent Bugliosi

 

Shakespeare’s Wife

Germaine Greer

 

The Sistine Secrets

Benjamin Blech & Roy Doliner

 

Birth of the Chess Queen

Marilyn Talom

 

Monopoly

Philip E. Orbanes

 

Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling

Ross King

 

The Second Plane

Martin Amis

 

Jesus, a Revolutionary Biography

John Dominic Crossan

 

American Fascists

Chris Hedges

 

Atheist Universe

David Mills

 

Sin in the Second City

Karen Abbott

 

You Don’t Have to be Famous

Steve Zousmer

 

Best American Poetry 2007

Ed. Heather McHugh

 

I Don’t Believe in Atheists

Chris Hedges

 

 

Spring 2008

 

Fugitive Days

Bill Ayers

 

Borges, a Life

James Woodall

 

The Bible Unearthed

Finkelstein & Silberman

 

Mysteries of the Middle Ages

Thomas Cahill

 

Why Kerouac Matters

John Leland

 

God’s Gold

Sean Kingsley

 

The Brother of Jesus

Jeffrey J. Butz

 

Winter 2007-2008

 

Who Killed Jesus?

John Dominic Crossan

 

Due Consideration

John Updike

 

Ralph Ellison

Arnold Rampersad

 

How to Read a Novel

John Sutherland

 

How to Become a Famous Writer before You’re Dead

Ariel Gore

 

Shopping for God

James B. Twitchell

 

James the Brother of Jesus

Robert Eisenman

 

The Future of an Illusion

Sigmund Freud

 

Life’s a Campaign

Chris Matthews

 

God is Not Great

Christopher Hitchens

 

The Atheist’s Bible

edited by Joan Konner

 

 

Fall 2007

 

Treasure Island

Robert Louis Stevenson

 

Women in Love

D.H. Lawrence

 

Justinian’s Flea

William Rosen

 

Becoming Shakespeare

Jack Lynch

 

 

Summer 2007

 

Man in the Middle

John Amaechi

 

Lady Chatterly’s Lover

D.H. Lawrence

 

Glory Days

Bill Reynolds

 

Charles Bukowski

Gay Brewer

 

Journey to the End of the Night

Celine

 

Ham on Rye

Charles Bukowski

 

The God Delusion

Richard Dawkins

 

A History of the End of the World

Jonathan Kirsch

 

The Great Transformation

Karen Armstrong

 

 

Spring 2007

 

Women

Charles Bukowski

 

The Qur’an, A Biography

Bruce Lawrence

 

All the Pretty Horses

Cormac McCarthy

 

The Tao of Jung

David Rosen

 

Locked in the Arms of this Crazy Life: Charles Bukowski

Howard Sounes

 

Who Wrote the Bible?

Richard Elliott Friedman

 

The Gospel According to the Son

Norman Mailer

 

The True Believer

Eric Hoffer

 

The Shakespeare Wars

Ron Rosenbaum

 

The Koran

Translated by John Medows Rodwell

 

Poems in Persons

Norman Holland

 

Jamaica Me Dead

Bob Morris

 

 

Winter 2006-2007

 

The Wicked Son

David Mamet

 

The Chosen

Chaim Potok

 

Holy Terror

Terry Eagleton

 

Literary Theory

Terry Eagleton

 

A Reader’s Companion to A Brief History of Time

Edited by Stephen Hawking

 

A History of God

Karen Armstrong

 

The Gay Talese Reader

Gay Talese

 

God’s Secretaries

Adam Nicolson

 

Why Darwin Matters

Michael Shermer

 

Fall 2006

 

Rembrandt’s Jews

Steven Nadler

 

This Terrible Business Has Been Good to Me

Norman Jewison

 

State of Denial

Bob Woodward

 

The Book of Lost Books

Stuart Kelly

 

The Collected Works of Spinoza

Volume One

Edwin Curley, ed.

 

Spinoza Dictionary

Dogbert D. Runes

Foreword by Albert Einstein

 

New Orleans, Mon Amour

Andrei Cordescu

 

A Writer’s Life

Gay Talese

 

The Reluctant Mr. Darwin

David Quammen

 

Betraying Spinoza

Rebecca Goldstein

 

The End of Faith

Sam Harris

 

Labyrinths

Jorge Luis Borges

 

Spinoza: Practical Philosophy

Gilles Deleuze

 

 

Summer 2006

 

Spinoza, A Very Short Introduction

Roger Scruton

 

Theological-Political Treatise

Baruch Spinoza

 

Library, An Unquiet History

Matthew Battles

 

The Trial of Socrates

I.F. Stone

 

The Library Book

Maureen Saiva

 

The Knowledge Deficit

E.D. Hirsch, Jr.

 

Herzog

Saul Bellow

 

The Book of Imaginary Beings

Jorge Luis Borges

 

Wilt, 1962

Gary M. Pomerantz

 

Critical Lessons

Nel Noddings

 

Shakespeare for All Time

Stanley Wells

 

The Proust Project

Edited by Andre Aciman

 

Edgar Allan Poe & The Jukebox

Elizabeth Bishop

 

Conversation with Spinoza

Goce Smilevski

 

Proust in Love

William C. Carter

 

The Walmart Effect

Charles Fishman

 

Spring 2006

 

Libraries in the Ancient World

Lionel Casino

 

The Vanished Library

Luciano Canfora

 

American Theocracy

Kevin Phillips

 

Thou Art That

Joseph Campbell

 

The Courtier and the Heretic

Matthew Stewart

 

Recovering Your Story

Arnold Weinstein

 

Shakespeare, the Biography

Peter Ackroyd

A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare: 1599James Shapiro

The Spinoza of Market Street

Isaac Bashevis Singer

 

Spinoza, A Life

Steven Nadler

 

Winter 2005-2006

 

Art and Reality

Joyce Cary

 

The Old Religion

David Mamet

 

Eats, Shoots & Leaves

Lynne Truss

 

Looking for Spinoza

Antonio Damasio

 

Marcel Proust

Edmund White

 

Romance

David Mamet

 

Everything Bad Is Good For You

Steven Johnson

 

Old Twentieth

Joe Haldeman

 

War Year

Joe Haldeman

 

The Forever War

Joe Haldeman

 

1968

Joe Haldeman

 

The Hemingway Hoax

Joe Haldeman

 

 

Fall 2005

 

Jews, God, and History

Max I. Dimont

 

Spinoza

Stuart Hampshire

 

Ethics

Benedict Spinoza

 

The Sayings of the Buddha

Selected by Geoffrey Parrinder

 

Upanishads

Translated by F Max-Muller, revised by Suren Navlakha

 

Goldberg Street

David Mamet

 

The Crisis of Psychoanalysis

Erich Fromm

 

Marx’s Concept of Man

Erich Fromm

 

Letters to a Young Actor

Robert Brustein

 

Democracy Matters

Cornel West

 

A Godless Jew

Peter Gay

 

 

 

Summer 2005

 

Five Cities of Refuge

Lawrence Kushner and David Mamet

 

The Cabin

David Mamet

 

A Practical Handbook for the Actor

Scott Ziegler

 

A History of the Middle East

Peter Mansfield

 

Where Shall Wisdom Be Found

Harold Bloom

 

Hemingway in Africa

Christopher Ondaatje

 

Page After Page

Heather Sellers

 

Whose Bible Is It?

Jaroslav Pelikan

 

 

Spring 2005

 

Faustus

David Mamet

 

Shakespeare After All

Marjorie Garber

 

Boston Marriage

David Mamet

 

Ultramarathon Man

Dean Karnazes

 

Will in the World

Stephen Greenblatt

 

An Open Life

Jospeh Campbell and Michael Toms

 

Our Town

Thornton Wilder

 

Among the Believers

V.S. Naipaul

 

Civilization and Its Discontents

Sigmund Freud

 

Aristotle’s Children

Richard E. Rubenstein

 

The Question of God

Armand M. Nicholi Jr.

 

 

Winter 2004-2005

 

Sexuality and the Psychology of Love

Sigmund Freud

 

The Shakespeare Stealer

Gary Blackwood

 

 

She

Ryder Haggard

 

Eros and Civilization

Herbert Marcuse

 

Theories of Surplus Value, Books 2 & 3

Karl Marx

 

 

Fall 2004

 

The City of Ember

Jeanne DuPrau

 

Shakespeare’s Language

Frank Kermode

 

Northrop Frye on Shakespeare

 

The Gift of the Jews

Thomas Cahill

 

Desire of the Everlasting Hills

Thomas Cahill

 

 

Summer 2004

Sonnets

William Shakespeare

 

The Wolfman and Other Cases

Sigmund Freud

 

Venus and Adonis

William Shakespeare

 

The Rape of Lucrece

William Shakespeare

 

The Meaning of Everything

Simon Winchester

 

Sailing the Wine Dark Sea

Thomas Cahill

 

Steppenwolf

Herman Hesse

 

 

Spring, 2004

 

Siddhartha

Herman Hesse

 

Pan

Knut Hamsun

 

The Shreber Case

Sigmund Freud

 

 

The Age of Shakespeare

Frank Kermode

 

The Psychopathology of Everyday Life

Sigmund Freud

 

Mysteries

Knut Hamsun

 

The Joke and Its Relation to the Unconscious

Sigmund Freud

 

 

Winter 2003-2004

 

The Imaginary Girlfriend

John Irving

 

The Worldly Philosophers

Robert Heilbronner

 

Living by Fiction

Annie Dillard

 

How to Read

Harold Bloom

 

The War of the Worlds

H.G. Wells

 

 

Fall, 2003

 

Tales of Hoffmann

E.T.A. Hoffmann

 

The Books in My Life

Henry Miller

 

Summer, 2003

 

The Best American Poetry 2002

Ed.  Robert Creely

 

Hunger

Knut Hamsun

 

Spring, 2003

 

Far Away

A play by Caryl Churchill

 

Theories of Surplus Value, Part One

Karl Marx

 

Like Shaking Hands with God

Kurt Vonnegut and Lee Stringer

 

What is a Book?

David Kirby

 

The Pursuit of Oblivion

Richard Davenport-Hines

 

 

Winter, 2002-2003

 

The Life of the Drama

Eric Bentley

 

 

Marxist Esthetics

Henri Arvon

 

Justine

Marquis de Sade

 

Afterglow, A Last Conversation with Pauline Kael

Pauline Kael and Francis Davis

 

The Play About the Baby

Edward Albee

 

 

Fall, 2002

 

Me and Shakespeare

Herman Gollob

 

To the Finland Station

Edmund Wilson

 

9-11

Noam Chomsky

 

Charles Dickens

Jane Smiley

 

 

Summer 2002

 

The Black Jacobins

C.L.R. James

 

Mariners, Renegades, and Castaways

C.L.R. James

 

Adventures in Marxism

Marshall Berman

 

How Proust Can Change Your Life

Alain de Botton

 

 

Spring 2002

 

Saint Augustine

Garry Wills

 

True at First Light

Ernest Hemingway

 

Grundrisse

Karl Marx

 

The Making of Marx’s ‘Capital’

Roman Rosdolsky

 

 

Winter 2001-2002

 

Anna Karenina

Leo Tolstoy

 

Wilson

David Mamet

 

The Hero

Lord Raglan

 

 

Fall 2001

 

Proof

David Auburn

 

Too Cool

Duff Brenna

 

The Tin Drum

Gunter Grass

 

Leaves of Grass

Walt Whitman

 

Advice to a Young Critic

George Bernard Shaw

 

 

 

Summer 2001

 

Ulysses

James Joyce

 

The Stuff of Dreams

Leah Hager

 

 

Ghosts of Manila

Mark Kram

 

 

Call if You Need Me

Raymond Carver

 

On Writing

Stephen King

 

 

 

Spring 2001

 

The Copernican Revolution

Thomas S. Kuhn

 

Quarrel and Quandary

Cynthia Ozick

 

Chekhov

Phillip Callow

 

 

Winter 2000-2001

 

Axel’s Castle

Edmund Wilson

Fall 2000

 

The Proust Screenplay

Harold Pinter

 

 

Summer 2000

 

In Search of Lost Time

Marcel Proust

 

 

 

Spring, 2000

 

Aliens of Affection

Padgett Powell

 

 

Juneteenth

Ralph Ellison

 

Magnolia

Paul Thomas Anderson

 

Best American Sports Stories

ed David Halbstrom

 

Finnegans Wake

James Joyce

 

 

 

Winter, 1999 – 2000

 

Hedda Gabler

Henrik Ibsen

 

The Importance of Being Earnest

Oscar Wilde

 

The Best American Poetry 1999

ed Robert Bly

 

 

Fall, 1999

 

Capital: Volume 3

Karl Marx

 

Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human

Harold Bloom

 

 

Summer, 1999

 

Capital: Volume 2

Karl Marx

 

Capital: Volume 1

Karl Marx

 

 

1967-1999

 

Guide to Filmmaking

Edward Pincus

 

Understanding Movies

Louis D. Giannetti

 

Cannery Row

John Steinbeck

 

The Day of the Locust

Nathaniel West

 

Black Spring

Henry Miller

 

Classic Myths

Charles Mills Gayly

 

Manual of Piety

Betrolt Brecht

 

Emma

Jane Austen

 

Magic

William Goldman

 

The Citizen Kane Book

Kael, Mankiewiscz, Welles

 

This Side of Paradise

  1. Scott Fitzgerald

 

The Girl on the Baggage Truck

John O’Hara

 

Sweet Thursday

John Steinbeck

 

Sports in America

James Michener

 

The Green Hills of Africa

Ernest Hemingway

 

Titus Andronicus

William Shakespeare

 

Henry VI, Part One

William Shakespeare

 

Love’s Labors Lost

William Shakespeare

 

Tender is the Night

F/ Scott Fitzgerald

 

Dangling Man

Saul Bellow

 

Sense and Sensibility

Jane Austen

 

The Literary Decade

Allen Churchill

 

Dark Laughter

Sherwood Anderson

 

The Pat Hobby Stories

  1. Scott Fitzgerald

 

Imagine Kissing Pete

John O’Hara

 

The Fifth Column and Four Stories

Ernest Hemingway

 

We’re Still Friends

John O’Hara

 

The Last Tycoon

  1. Scott Fitzgerald

 

Winesburg, Ohio

Sherwood Anderson

 

Writers in Revolt

Ed. Jack Conway

 

The Red Badge of Courage

Stephen Crane

 

Poor White

Sherwood Anderson

 

Bits and Pieces

Corrine Jackson

 

Minosa Pudica

Curt Dempster

 

Look Homeward, Angel

Thomas Wolfe

 

Red Harvest

Dashiell Hammett

 

The Revolt of the Black Athlete

Jack Scott

 

May Man Prevail

Erich Fromm

 

Bill Walton

Jack Scott

 

Altered States

Paddy Chayefsky

 

Heironymous Bosch

Joseph Emil Muller

 

The Ascent of Man

Joseph Bronowski

 

The Fire and the Sun

Iris Murdoch

 

Four Quartets

T.S. Eliot

 

Writers on the Left

Daniel Aaron

 

My Bike and Other Friends

Henry Miller

 

Selected Poems

George Meredith

 

For a New Novel

Alain Robbe-Grillet

 

Selected Poems

William Blake `

 

One Man’s Initiation

John Dos Passos

 

Selected Poems

Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Verlaine

 

Capital, Part 1

Karl Marx

 

Small Craft Warnings

Tennessee Williams

 

Leon Trotsky

Irving Howe

 

The Hemingway Manuscripts

Phillip Young

 

Dialogue with Erich Fromm

Richard. L. Evans

 

The Writer in America

Van Wycke Brooks

 

Boule de Suif

Guy de Maupassant

 

The Maltese Falcon

Dashiell Hammett

 

Mysteries

Knut Hamsun

 

Olive and Mary Ann

James T. Farrell

 

Eccentricities of a Nightingale

Tennessee Williams

 

Summer and Smoke

Tennessee Williams

 

Camino Real

Tennessee Williams

 

Memoirs

Tennessee Williams

 

Some Kind of Hero

James Kirkwood

 

One Arm and Other Stories

Tennessee Williams

 

The Orestia

Aeschylus (translated by Robert Lowell)

 

Appointment in Samara

John O’Hara

 

To Have and Have Not

Ernest Hemingway

 

Butterfield Eight

John O’Hara

 

The Glass Key

Dashiell Hammett

 

Scott and Ernest

Matthew Broccoli

 

The Thin Man

Dashiell Hammett

 

Tom Sawyer

Mark Twain

 

The Ordeal of Mark Twain

Van Wycke Brooks

 

P.S. Your Cat is Dead

James Kirkwood

 

Elizabeth Appleton

John O’Hara

 

The Great Gatsby

  1. Scot Fitzgerald

 

Blind Date

Jerzy Kosinski

 

From the Terrace

John O’Hara

 

Eight Mortal Ladies Possessed

Tennessee Williams

 

Crime and Punishment

Fyodor Dostoyevsky

 

Marx’s Concept of Man

Erich Fromm

 

Pierre and Jean

Guy de Maupassant

 

The Naked and the Dead

Norman Mailer

 

Cuba: Anatomy of a Revolution

Leo Huberman

 

Galileo

Bertolt Brecht

 

Vieux Carre

Tennessee Williams

 

Saint Joan of the Stockyards

Bertolt Brecht

 

The Moon is Down

John Steinbeck

 

The Hope of Heaven

John O’Hara

 

Sexual Perversity in Chicago

David Mamet

 

The Caucasian Chalk Circle

Bertolt Brecht

 

A Hero of Our Time

Mikhail Lermontov

 

Twenty-seven Wagons full of Cotton

Tennessee Williams

 

Three Who Made a Revolution

Bertram Wolfe

 

The Sea, The Sea

Iris Murdoch

 

Ion

Euripides

 

The Trojan Women

Euripides

 

The Three Penny Opera

Bertolt Brecht

 

The Books in my Life

Henry Miller

 

A World I Never Made

James T. Farrell

 

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

James Joyce

 

Fathers and Sons

Ivan Turgenev

 

In Our Time

Ernest Hemingway

 

How It Was

Mary Hemingway

 

Fifteen by Maupassant

Guy de Maupassant

 

Hemingway’s Nonfiction

Ernest Hemingway

 

Franny and Zoey

J.D. Salinger

 

The Medium is the Message

Marshall McLuhan

 

Character and Culture

Sigmund Freud

 

Islands in the Stream

Ernest Hemingway

 

Introductory Lectures

Sigmund Freud

 

The Torrents of Spring

Ernest Hemingway

 

By Force of Will

Scott Donaldson

 

Heaven is a Playground

Rick Telander

 

Death in the Afternoon

Ernest Hemingway

 

Tropic of Cancer

Henry Miller

 

Something Happened

Joseph Heller

 

Catch 22

Joseph Heller

 

The Thing of It Is

William Goldman

 

Boys and Girls Together

William Goldman

 

The City Game

Pete Axthelm

 

Ninety-two in the Shade

Thomas McGuane

 

Junkie

William Burroughs

 

Light in August

William Faulkner

 

The Sound and the Fury

William Faulkner

 

The Devil Tree

Jerzy Kosinski

 

Tropic of Capricorn

Henry Miller

 

New Years Eve 1929

James T. Farrell

 

Studs Lonigan

James T, Farrell

 

A Season in Hell/The Drunken Boat

Arthur Rimbaud

 

The Time of the Assassins

Henry Miller

 

Life on the Mississippi

Mark Twin

 

The Continental OP

Dashiell Hammett

 

Field Work

Seamus Heaney

 

Molloy

Samuel Beckett

 

Hit Me with a Rainbow

James Kirkwood

 

The Decline of the Bourgeois World

Nadine Gordimer

 

A Jew in Love

Ben Hecht

 

A Life in the Theatre

David Mamet

 

The Water Engine

David Mamet

 

The Measures Taken

Bertolt Brecht

 

The Informer

Bertolt Brecht

 

The City of Mahagonny

Bertolt Brecht

 

American Buffalo

David Mamet

 

The Exception and the Rule

Bertolt Brecht

 

Betrayal

Harold Pinter

 

Brecht in America

James K. Lyon

 

The Postman Always Rings Twice

James M. Cain

 

Burger’s Daughter

Nadine Gordimer

 

Creative Writing

Ken Macrorie

 

The Brecht Commentaries

Eric Bentley

 

Mother Courage

Bertolt Brecht

 

Puntilla and His Man Matti

Bertolt Brecht

 

Notes from the Underground

Fyodor Dostoyevsky

 

Emperor Jones

Eugene O’Neill

 

Through a Glass Darkly

Ingmar Bergman

 

Winter Light

Ingmar Bergman

 

Persona

Ingmar Bergman

 

The Glass Menagerie

Tennessee Williams

 

Oedipus Rex

Sophocles

 

Mr. Happiness

David Mamet

 

Electra

Sophocles

 

Electra

Jean Girouxdou

 

Major Barbara

George Bernard Shaw

 

War and Peace

Leo Tolstoy

 

Peer Gynt

Henrik Ibsen

 

Lakeboat

David Mamet

 

In the Belly of the Beast

Jack Abbott

 

The Blue Hour

David Mamet

 

Prarie Du Chien

David Mamet

 

Talley’s Folly

Lanford Wilson

 

Hamlet

William Shakespeare

 

Twelve Dreams

James Lapine

 

A Sermon, Shoeshine, Old Vermont

David Mamet

 

Hemingway in Key West

James McLendon

 

Clothes for a Summer Hotel

Tennessee Williams

 

The sociology of Marx

Henri Lefebvre

 

Edomnd

David Mamet

 

Daniel Martin

John Fowles

 

The Collector

John Fowles

 

The Magus

John Folwes

 

The Aristos

John Fowles

 

The French Lieutenant’s Woman

John Fowles

 

The Playwright as Thinker

Eric Bentley

 

Nightwork

Irwin Shaw

 

Fiction into Film

Maddox, Silliphant

 

What is Cinema?

Andre Bazin

 

The Empty Space

Peter Brook

 

The Misanthrope

Moliere

 

The Way of the World

William Congreve

 

Waiting for Godot

Samuel Beckett

 

Endgame

Samuel Beckett

 

The Cid

Pierre Corneille

 

The Poetics

Aristotle

 

The Miser

Moliere

 

Deathwatch

Jean Genet

 

Phaedra

Racine

 

She Stoops to Conquer

Oliver Goldsmith

 

The School for Scandal

Richard Sheridan

 

The Birth of Tragedy

Friedrich Nietzsche

 

The Catcher in the Rye

J.D. Salinger

 

Invisible Man

Ralph Ellison

 

Wise Blood

Flannery O’Connor

 

Lolita

Vladimir Nabokov

 

On the Road

Jack Kerouac

 

The Assistant

Bernard Malamud

 

Advertisements for Myself

Norman Mailer

 

The End of the Road

John Barth

 

The Sirens of Titan

Kurt Vonnegut

 

Mother Night

Kurt Vonnegut

 

Moby Dick

Herman Melville

 

Letters

Vincent Van Gogh

 

The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner

Allan Sillitoe

 

The Ginger Man

J.P. Donleavy

 

Buddenbrooks

Thomas Mann

 

 

1973-1982

 

The Social and Political Thought of Karl Marx

Shlomo Avineri

 

The Sun Also Rises

Ernest Hemingway

 

A Farewell to Arms

Ernest Hemingway

 

For Whom the Bell Tolls

Ernest Hemingway

 

Green Hills of Africa

Ernest Hemingway

 

A Moveable Feast

Ernest Hemingway

 

 

1964-1966

 

From Russia with Love

Ian Fleming

 

Goldfinger

Ian Fleming

 

Thunderball

Ian Fleming

 

Doctor No

Ian Fleming

 

You Only Live Twice

Ian Fleming

 

The Man with the Golden Gun

Ian Fleming

 

 

 

Advertisements

Work in Progress

I have this imaginary reader – you – who’s interested in all the same shit I think about all day and wants to know what I’m up to, and what I worked on today, and how it’s going.

I always have a bunch of projects going at once, and I’m with Mark Twain on this: as long as the thing will write itself, I am its willing amanuensis. So, these are the projects that are currently inventing themselves, writing themselves for me, and I’m just trying to keep up, run as fast as I can to stay in one place.

misc 2646

My projects are nonetheless prioritized, which is easy right now because Sunset Village by Michael Presley Bobbitt is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It’s an acting gig, so right there it’s got a greater audience than any of my writing projects, which do not gather what you would call an audience so much as a solitary reader here and there. And one acting gig can lead to another.

Oberon 001

So, I am also working on my one-man show, Seven Sides of Shakespeare, just in case I’m a hit in Sunset Village and can sell my show to old folks’ homes – like Sunset Village.

DSC09051

E. Stanley Richardson as Big Daddy

A third acting gig that I’m working on is a play called In Splendid Error by William Branch, and it’s a chance to act with my talented friend E. Stanley Richardson. It’s about Frederick Douglass and his complex friendship with John Brown. The three-week run is set for February 2019.

 

https://www.michaelpresleybobbitt.com/

 

https://millerworks.weebly.com/blog/michael-bobbitts-play-sunset-village-to-debut-in-nyc

 

Sunset Village

Sunset Village is the third play of Bobbitt’s that I have acted in. Like Trailer Park and Cedar Key, it’s an ensemble piece, an actors’ showcase, offering six good parts, four of them female, and that rarity, opportunities for actresses who are no longer ingénues.

 

There’s a shared theme and structure among the three plays, a certain feeling you get acting in them. You can tell they’re by the same playwright, even though the settings, subject, and characters of each are distinctly different. There’s a hero. In Trailer Park it was Elijah, the park manager, who confronted his own past by forgiving the worst in others. In Cedar Key, it was Meshack, the fisherman who battled the hurricane. In Sunset Village, it’s Edna, who has lost her husband after 47 years of marriage, and she isn’t dead yet, so she doesn’t know what to do with herself, until Mr. Midnight comes along.

 

How did Bobbitt happen to write a hit play? Practice (Across the River), practice (Trailer Park Elegy), practice (Cedar Key).

DSC03250

I’m going to ride Bobbitt the way Macy rode Mamet. I have some idea how that works.

 

Parallel speeches: Elijah to the trailer park community; Joe to the Sunset Village folk.

 

Dylan Thomas reading “Do Not Go Gentle”

 

This could be my Big Break. I’m about to be 68 years old and an overnight success.

Maybe.

Maybe not. Probably not. But that’s just business as usual for me.

 

No matter your best intentions and stratagems to the contrary, one way or another, you always end up making a drama out of the play.

 

Thank God, Michael Presley Bobbitt decided to turn my sad little life into a play.

 

So, how did he do it? How did Bobbitt happen to write what just might be a hit? He worked his way up to it. No one has studied his playwriting career more carefully than I have. His first play, Across the River, was directed by my son Mike. His second play, Trailer Park Elegy, included a character named Sham-Sham, played by me. In Cedar Key I played the hero’s father and his great grandfather.

And so it is with this play, Sunset Village, I play a retired English teacher and failed writer. That’s me. In Trailer Park Elegy, Sham Sham spends his days guzzling beer and talking to a goat. In this scenario, I am Mr. Midnight, a single senior swinger in a retirement village full of sex-starved widows. I am the perfect cad. Well, nobody’s perfect. But, again, in essence, playing myself, I can’t go wrong. I can’t not be me.

 

Bobbitt first entered upon the Gainesville scene as a rival poet on the spoken word circuit, at the Civic Media Center poetry jam and the Word is Spoken at Tim & Terry’s, setting himself apart from the left-leaning poets as a combative Maileresque figure, a witty and argumentative provocateur, writing revenge poems about relationships gone bad, and succeeding so well at pissing people off that he was banned.

All the poets, naturally, had other lives, they didn’t make poetry to make a living. Most of them, like me, had no idea how to make money, and the ones who did were mostly the crappiest poets. Bobbitt knew how to make money, and he knew how to piss people off.

The above description of the poetry scene is inaccurate – for what it leaves out: Tom Miller. Tom Miller is a category unto himself. Tom Miller really knows how to piss people off – he’s famous for it. Ask Alex Jones, if you don’t believe me. The thing is Tom Miller somehow flies right past the point of pissing everybody off to where it’s suddenly so ridiculous it’s funny.

DSC00407

Tom Miller and Bobbitt are friends. They go back about 20 years. Tom Miller was the first friend Bobbitt made when he moved to Gainesville.

That was another thing Bobbitt knew how to do – make friends. Bobbitt became my son Mike’s best friend, taking him in for a stretch, and they hung out, talking a lot about theatre, Mike’s obsession and profession, and Bobbitt was picking Mike’s brain – because he had decided to become a playwright, to hell with poetry. The more they talked, the more Bobbitt’s focus shifted from poetry to play, which meant, as far as he was concerned, a shift in focus from character to place. The setting was the key.

Bobbitt’s first play, Across the River, featured an intimate ensemble composed of Bobbitt himself, in an autobiographical role, along with his son Liam, Michael O’Meara, Anna Marie Kirkpatrick, and George Steven O’Brien. Anna has confessed to me that before stepping on stage opening night she asked George in all sincerity: “Is this play any good?” George said he didn’t know.

There was one theatre in town that was willing to give local playwrights a shot – and they turned it down. Bobbitt didn’t skip a beat. He just went ahead and produced the play himself in a venue that he rented and converted into a performance space, and with Mike’s help, and the stagecraft and handiwork of George O’Brien, the acting and music of O’Meara, and finding a plausible moment in the plot for Anna to sing, he capitalized on the company’s particular talents, and they pulled the whole enterprise off with aplomb, and more importantly, got the ball rolling.

Something has to happen in a play. Nothing much needs to happen in a poem. So, Bobbitt had found his new medium – because, by knowing how to make money and how to make people pissed off, and how to make friends, Bobbitt had perfectly positioned himself to make things happen on stage, and, instead of people being pissed off at him, the people in his plays got pissed off at each other, and in the end, somehow it all worked out.

So, Bobbitt started writing another play, and, at the same time, made things happen to pave the way for a production in an established theatre. He got himself elected to the Board of Directors at the Acrosstown Repertory Theatre. With Mike’s technical expertise to supply what his checkbook and elbow grease couldn’t, Bobbitt made himself the director of facilities, and pitched in with set-building and heavy lifting. He also got married, and the woman he married, Laura Jackson, happened to be a theatrical as well, a gifted director and actress, and a successful wage-earner like Bobbitt to boot.

shining-lives-2shining-lives-3carlyn-emma

 

When Laura directed the play that brought the acerbic, sarcastic Sun theatre critic to tears, These Shining Lives, the Acrosstown began to be taken with greater seriousness than had heretofore been the case.

 

In the beginning the new play was called Dead Lady on a Shelf, but even more than the dead lady, it was about where the shelf was, it was about a place, a trailer park near I-75, where Bobbitt’s friend Kate was the manager and told Bobbitt stories about the park’s eccentric denizens, an eclectic collection of misfits and shady characters. It’s funny, Bobbitt likes pissing people off, and the people in his plays get pissed off at each other, but Bobbitt likes all these people and he never gets pissed off at them. He treated his bin of trailer trash with dignity. I know – because I was one of them.

Most theatres don’t produce plays, they re-produce them. This is not a knock on those theatres, that’s just the way things are. It’s not like in Shakespeare’s day, when a company of actors could tailor make plays to fit their particular skills, and the whole would be more than the sum of its parts, and it would be unique. Those days are gone, but Bobbitt pretends they’re not. This is called Make Believe.

Bobbitt wrote a part for me in his new play, which was now more appropriately titled Trailer Park Elegy. It wasn’t just a role that Bobbitt wrote for me, it was a me that Bobbitt had made into a role. He called the character Sham-Sham, a mysterious, over-educated good-for-nothing, hiding in plain sight, with a goat for his best friend. The goat and I had a long scene together, which was more or less my monologue, despite everyone’s eagerness to hear Mable speak her mind, but she was shy. I got to drink a beer.

First, we did Trailer Park as a staged reading, and Bobbitt pulled out all the stops, practically mounting the thing, in an effort to convince the board to select the play for a full production. He was going all out, putting his money where his mouth was.

DSC03147

Trailer Park Elegy got its full production at the ART, with an ensemble that included Michael Glover, Marival Parrish, Many Fugate, Scott Gross, Chick Lipsig, and me, oh, and Mable the Goat. It made people laugh and think about loneliness and racism and rape and gun violence and sex and goats. The Sun reviewer didn’t know what else to do with it, but the house was full of people laughing, and he was laughing too, so he praised it.

 

Bobbitt is a playwright, and he shows you the reason it’s spelled that way, like shipwright or wheelwright, he’s a maker of plays. Plays aren’t just written; they’re wrought.

DSC02869

Miller is a performance artist, and that means he lets fly, but he is also a painter, filmmaker, musician, composer, singer, and poet, which is to say he is a performance artist. Miller wrote a play called Ummu that was eerie and unsettling and sexy, and we got together for a reading. I played Fred, the psychiatrist, and Bobbitt played John, the artist, and Katina Daily played our love interest. The play was a clever construction of Chinese boxes, and great fun, scenes that were primal and freaky, and then funny and sardonic. Miller as playwright. Bobbitt wanted to direct it. So, that happened. Ummu, another brand-new play at the ART, a world premier that featured Wester Joseph (“Twelve Years a Slave”, Jayne Mansfield’s Car, directed by Billy Bob Thornton, featuring Robert Duvall, John Hurt, Kevin Bacon, and Wester), and Lola Bond, and me in a trippy psycho-drama played against a mesmerizing Anastasia Overton mural, whose eyes followed you everywhere.

There’s really only one way you can find out if you can trust somebody, and that’s to trust them. Miller handed his play to Bobbitt and he already knew he could trust him. That doesn’t happen when you put on Our Town, and it doesn’t need to, but a company putting on a play has no choice but to operate on trust. Bobbitt took complete control. Miller didn’t attend a sing rehearsal.

 

 

Tom Miller and I go back about 20 years as well, trading riffs on the poetry scene, moviemaking, acting in plays together, writing about each other.

 

Gaslight cast

It was during our run of Gaslight that Bobbitt got word that Sunset Village had been selected for the Broadway Bound Series. Gaslight, an old chestnut from the Great White Way, suddenly topical, another smart bet at the track, another winner critically and at the box office, another honing of our company’s skills, directed by Laura Jackson, set and lighting design by Bobbitt, an ensemble piece, eliciting the services of no less than Jan Cohen, who jived perfectly with Bobbitt’s dream cast for Sunset Village.

We were gathered in the dressing room at the intermission of Gaslight when Bobbitt appeared to tell us he was going to mount his next play in Greenwich Village at the 14th Street Y Theatre, but not to tell anyone. This was before any of us had read the script. Bobbitt told me he had a part for me, which I thought was cool, as long as I didn’t have to make out with a goat or anything.

Sunset Village does have a great part for me, and I could steal the show, and I should probably try to, because that will make it work, that’s what this guy does, but it’s really Anna’s play. It’s about Edna, the widow who has just arrived at Sunset Village, where, in some interior room, is death’s door. The only question is whether she wants to find her way there alone or with a companion. I think that’s a damn good question.

Sham & Anna

Anna and I have been a couple on stage twice before, as the Macbeths and as the Lomans in Death of a Salesman, so, to put it mildly, we’ve been through a lot.

Not every singer who bares her soul can do the same thing in a dramatic setting with dialogue, but Anna comes by it naturally. Her father, Smith Kirkpatrick, started the Creative Writing Program at UF, and her grandfather was the chairman of the English Department, so Lady Macbeth was in her wheelhouse, right along with Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing, whom Anna played just last year, the smartest woman in all of Shakespeare. Some scholars, Harold Bloom and Sid Homan among them, have pointed out that the Macbeths are actually the most happily-married couple in the folio, and I must say Anna and I were happy playing them, putting our own spin on them, humanizing icons, same with Willy and Linda Loman. It’s fun being on stage just to watch Anna up close, because you can that she’s all caught up in it, but then you realize that at the same time she’s been watching you, so you instantly interact.

 

 

 

 

“Strap on your three-way safety belt, this is gonna be a life-changer.” – Tom Miller

We’ve done scary shit before. What’s scarier than Macbeth? And to do it out on the plaza downtown and broadcast it for all of downtown to hear! People could hear it on the steps of the Hippodrome. What could be scarier than Death of a Salesman?  But we did that. Those plays were scary in themselves. The only thing scary about this is where we’re going to do it. The play itself is literally made to order. Play it honestly, say the words, and tell the story. It’s just Boy meets Girl, Boy loses Girl, Boy gets Girl – only from the Girl’s point of view, and the Boys and Girls aren’t Boys and Girls anymore.

 

Leaving nothing to chance in the formation of his company, Bobbitt recruited his close friend and confidante, Norma Berger, to be his stage manager, someone who will take the job seriously without taking herself too seriously. Don’t sweat the details – because that’s what Norma does. To a T. Stage manager is a loose-fitting term for what Norma does – which is to operate the play as if it were a piece of delicate machinery to which she has written the owner’s manual. She is herself a fine and empathic actress, but she is more comfortable in this role, that of guiding hand.

 

It’s like swimming with sharks. I’ve done that. I was snorkeling in the Keys on my honeymoon and a great big hammerhead swam at an angle right toward us, and we just stopped and let him go by. That’s how you find out what you would do if you’re ever swimming with sharks. You calm the fuck down. You do not panic. You know why? Because if you do, you’ll die.

The wrangler at the 14th Street Y was wrapping up her briefing to the budding Broadway Bound playwrights: “Ok, let’s just make double sure that everybody knows exactly what you can and cannot do.” And all the cowed playwrights nodded pliantly. “Are there any questions?” There were none – except for Bobbitt. “Can we have live bees onstage?” People laughed. “I’m serious.” No, the wrangler told him, you cannot have live bees onstage. “That’s ok,” Bobbitt said, “I had a live goat in my last play. I was kind of scaling down because we have to travel, but if yall can’t handle it, we’ll save it for the Gainesville run.” This is our method for combatting Imposter Syndrome, the dread that can deaden a New York City debut by immobilizing a newbie struck wondering: what am I doing here, I don’t belong here, I’m small-time, this is big-time, they’re going to find me out, I’m an impostor! Fugdatshit. I put goats in my plays. And our director is a world-famous performance artist. Audiences don’t intimidate us, we intimidate them. Our motto is Hurt the People!

It’s been our motto since I coined the phrase somewhere far back in time, maybe around the time we did Macbeth, when it became apparent not just from my reading of Artaud and appreciation of Brecht and Genet, but, more significantly, from my own life in the theatre, that every play, every single play I had ever played in hurt, there was emotional pain involved, and sometimes physical too, and sometimes the pain felt good, so good you fell in love with it, and you never wanted to leave that part behind, you never wanted for the play and playing in it to die and go away and for the lights to go down on it forever, and so it hurt. It finally occurred to me – That’s what we want the audience to feel. We want to Hurt the People, we want the play to hurt the people the way it hurts us, to hurt so bad it feels good, to hurt so sublimely they fall in love with it.

 

Martha & George

Cindy Lasley and I have been a couple on stage three times, in Who’s Afraid of Virginia  Woolf?, A Thousand Clowns, and Twelve Years a Slave. And we also sort of double-dated with Scot Davis and Carolyne Salt in The Odd Couple.

 

Jan and I got to play one scene together in Gaslight and it quickly became one of my favorites because Jan was so razor sharp in her choices, and picked up her cues so beautifully you could make a scene seamless with her.

DSC05453

Tom Miller once ran for Mayor of Gainesville and held a naked press conference, you wanna talk about transparency in government. Tom Miller incurred the wrath of Info Wars by staring straight into the Lips of Lyin Ted Cruz for a Guinness Book world record of one hour!

Now, for what I’m writing, for what it’s worth.

Everywhere is Nowhere, a novel

fussli

Sometimes the truth is shrouded in myth.

Welcome to Hadesville, where Persephone, Queen of the Underworld, plies her trade, just beyond the gator-patrolled shores of Finnegans Lake, a tributary of the River Styx, in a land where Trump is King, and everywhere is nowhere.

 

Currently working 3rd draft, cutting and shaping.

I write every day in my composition book, following the three rules of writing practice: keep your pen moving; don’t stop to re-read, re-write, or correct mistakes; don’t think – just write! This is where the first draft happens. The second draft is when I transfer the material from my compo to the computer. The second draft of Everywhere is Nowhere was over 100,000 words. This draft will be half that length. I’m taking out everything but the sex.

 

thecreationofadam

Holy Shit, a play

The sacred and the profane.

 

 

In Black and White and Color, a novel

This is a coming-of-age story, set in mid-20th century Chicago and in particular its pleasant prosperous prejudiced suburb Oak Park. So far, it’s mostly been about sports and religion, athletes, nuns and priests.

Jardine

Trump Wants to Take Your Gun Away!

My eight-year-old son is a devotee of a violent video game called Fortnite, and he is extremely upset at the rumor that President Trump is going to ban violent video games. Why would the President do such a thing?

I explained to him the President’s honorable intention. The President, I told him honestly, just wants to sell guns, all the guns he can, all kinds of guns, to everybody, and bullets too. But he doesn’t want people to think he’s not doing anything about people getting killed with all these guns he’s selling, so, to show everybody he’s doing something about it, he blames violent video games. Kids and crazy people play these games where they shoot people, and it makes them want to shoot people in real life. Sort of like when you play too much basketball, and then you go to the store and start boxing people out to keep them from grabbing that loaf of bread or carton of milk. That doesn’t happen?

How about this? What do you think, if we eliminated every gun from the face of the earth and replaced them with violent video games, would the number of gun deaths decrease? Obviously, but that is an absurd premise.

What would not be an absurd premise? Is there any premise possible that would admit the reduction in arms as a means of reducing gun deaths? Because then there would be a way to discover mathematically the percentage of arms reduction required to reduce the number of gun deaths. Certainly, it is a fact, a priori, that if there were zero guns, there would be zero gun deaths.

The thing is, one gun can kill a lot of people, and let’s not forget that guns don’t just kill people, they perforate them, so if, peradventure, they don’t kill you, they can still destroy you, paralyze you, cripple you, blind you, disfigure you, not to speak of traumatize you for life, forever, for all eternity, however you choose to think of it, but let’s leave all that aside, because by now the numbers and repercussions have far surpassed the level of absurdity.

We must always begin with this premise: You’re never going to get rid of all the guns.

Yes, Mr. President, but what if you could? Think about it, Mr. President. The mere threat of taking everybody’s guns away, while Obama was president, was enough to give gun sales a giant goose, just imagine for an instant what it would mean for gun sales if everybody in America needed a gun – because they didn’t have one!

Trump wants to take your gun away!

E. Stanley Richardson, Poet

E. Stanley Richardson at the Downtown Library, reading from his book of poems about hip hop, which he sees as a people’s art form that has become commodified and turned into its opposite and sold back to the oppressed.

Stan is listening to the voices in his life, his past, his present, his country, his world. Many of the poems lead with the first-person plural, not the royal we, not the editorial we, but we the people.

A poem that follows from Genesis, but not “Let there be light,” but, rather, “Let there be sound”.

In the beginning there was the drum . . . .

A poem called “The Willie Green Blues”

  • “ Did I witness all dem colors!”

James Brown inspired the Birth of Funk. “He changed the whole way music is heard and played.”

“Ancestral Swag”

Stan riffs on his writing process: “Everything happens to music. No music with words though. I don’t want words to get in the way of my words. And then I just let it flow. Sometimes I wonder where is she, my muse, when she’s not with me? With some other lover, I guess.”

Stan draws a parallel between the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the dangers faced by black Americans when dealing with the police. “There are people all over the world who look to black Americans for their blueprint for freedom.”

Stan is in good voice, offering more than print on a page, a cadence, a subtle change in pitch, a wry articulation, a melody. He launches into “Klan Notes”, which he describes as “Edgar Allan Poe and Maya Angelou got together and decided to write a poem, and it came out through me.”

In the poem, the telling words are “I’ve see them and they’ve seen me.”

046

 

Listening to the Little Prince

Just the Answers, mam.

 

Little Prince Literary Criticism

McShane

Language Arts

 

 

little prince

  1. The danger of the baobabs is that they cannot be eradicated. They are invasive, destructive. One ignores them not only at one’s own peril, but at the peril of the entire planet. This is no fantasy. Pollution can kill us all.
  2. The difference between adults and children is the level of their understanding, the former being low, the latter perhaps being adequate to the task. At least the kids have a chance to understand – because they are open to understanding that which cannot be quantified, to looking within themselves. It is not a matter of chronological age. The pilot discovers and nurtures the child within himself.
  3. The pilot learns to love the prince. He loves the way you love someone so much that you want to be like that person. And so the pilot learns what the prince has learned: the difference between adults and children, the accepting awe that is alight in questions more than answers. He learns that what is most essential is invisible to the eye, that time soothes all sorrows, and what it means to be tamed.
  4. The well itself, like a well in a village, is not what one might expect to find in the immensity of the desert. It is out of place – and it is this disconnectedness, this other worldliness, that leads to nourishment that is good for the heart, not cardiovascularly, but spiritually. This water quenches the thirst for truth, but it is best when shared with another. As Emerson said, “It takes two to speak the truth; one to speak and another to listen.” The well water is like that.
  5. The prince commits suicide, and somehow he gains the tacit approval of the pilot for this action, and, by extension, that of the reader. We forgive him, just as we forgive Romeo and Juliet their suicides. Their action seems justified. Is this not presumptuous of us however? The prince does not want to die. He is afraid of death. And yet it seems a chalice that he will not pass by. There is a sense of self-sacrifice here, Christ-like, and we would not accuse Jesus of suicide, even though he chose to die. More to the point might be the death of Socrates, who also chose poison over life.
  6. To be tamed means to establish ties – but what exactly does that mean? What is it that ties us to one another? Are they bonds that can be broken? How easily? The bonds that the fox is seeking are strong, reinforced by habit. There is joy, even love, informing these habits. Taming is a constant endeavor. It does not end.
  7. Ephemeral means to be in danger of speedy disappearance. This applies to all humanity, both individually and as a species. All of humanity may be wiped out, all humanity may be evolving toward dissolution. All that we care about is fleeting, subject to the ravages of time, and the clock is ticking.
  8. The rose does tell the prince that she loves him. But not until it is too late. He has already decided to leave his planet. It may be the imminent threat of his departure that prompts the rose’s belated declaration, which nevertheless does not deter the prince. The question then is why does the prince not stay with the rose after she has declared her love for him? Something has gone terribly wrong in their relationship, perhaps irreparably. Their relationship could have been salvaged had they acted earlier, but, for, perhaps, selfish reasons, they did not.
  9. The Turkish astronomer is a brilliant scientist who makes an important discovery, but he is ignored because his appearance is outside the norm. Europeans do not trust those in non-European costume. It is not the value or truth of his discovery that causes it to be discounted, but, rather, the prejudice of his listeners.
  10. The prince is on a quest for truth. You don’t find the truth by pretending that you know the answers to everything. The prince employs the Socratic Method. You begin in ignorance by admitting your ignorance. The prince is willing to do that. Then it becomes a matter of asking the right questions, to get to the essence of things. The prince wants to penetrate to the heart of the matter. He never lets go off a question. He pursues, until the problem is stated in its simplest terms. In some ways then the prince’s questions are answers.
  11.  I leave it to you to suggest how the pilot found the well. She says it is destiny. And so this becomes a question about fate. You would have no trouble convincing the ancient Greeks of this. They believed in this sort of thing. They lived their lives according to it. Don’t fight fate, We moderns are a harder sell. The pilot is looking for a well hidden somewhere in the immensity of the desert. It is absurd. And yet, somehow, he finds it. How? The pilot does not even have the prince to guide him. The prince is asleep. So what guides him? Luck? His instincts? Does the force of the well attract him? I lean toward this last theory, because it seems to be important that the pilot wants to find the well, that he is actively looking for it. Then it seems like the operation of a karma-like force.
  12. Somehow the price does not belong on Earth. He does not fit in. But is that the reason he leaves Earth? And he doesn’t just leave Earth, he returns to his own planet, which he had seemingly abandoned. The analogy to Christ, again, rings true. The prince comes to Earth to impart some lesson, and to sacrifice himself. He does so. The pilot cannot find his body the next day, so it is as if the prince has risen from the dead and ascended to heaven. He had told the pilot that it would seem as if he were dying, but that that would not be so. It is as if death were only a kind of rebirth. There is also the rose to be considered. The prince has gone to great lengths to acquire a sheep to the planet from baobabs, so it seems to have been the prince’s intention to return to his own planet from the moment he meets the pilot.
  13. There is nothing that could make the prince want to stay on earth. His friendship with the pilot speaks well of the Earth. It is a redeeming quality, but it is not enough for the prince – who is responsible for his rose.
  14. As soon as the prince learns the meaning of ephemeral he realizes that everything and everybody that he cares about is dying. He faces time as an enemy. Time opposes all that he loves. And yet it is the time that he has wasted on his rose that makes his rose so important. Here then is the paradox that the prince somehow resolves – how to appreciate the time he spends while simultaneously wasting it. He finds a solution to the conundrum of time.
  15. Those who see the drawing as a boa constrictor rather than a hat possess a greater degree of understanding. They can perhaps intuit what is within. They do not merely look at the surface of things. They look deeper. The prince has this capability for insight, as the pilot discovers when he shows the prince his drawing.
  16.  The prince loves the rose because of the time he has wasted on her, because she has tamed him, and because it is the prince’s nature to love. He is a loving being. The prince is all about love. A cynic might say that the prince loves the rose because there is no one else around to love, and yet, in herself, she is a worth object of the prince’s love. She is beautiful – not just in her appearance but in her essence, in her nature – which is to be loved.
  17.  If being tamed means to establish ties with someone else, then one cannot tame oneself. And yet how could the fox know how to be tamed without already being tamed. He certainly seems tame enough, speaking to the prince in a civilized fashion, offering him no harm. The establishment of ties must begin anew with each of those one chooses to tame and be tamed by. There is then choice and habit, and when the two are confused there is hell to pay.
  18. The first thing the prince asks the pilot is to draw him a sheep. It is an odd request. We learn later why the prince needs the sheep. It is to protect his planet from invasion by baobabs. But why a drawing, why a two-dimensional representation rather than the real thing? Is it because we have entered a symbolic universe where it is enough for the drawing of the sheep to represent its saving power?
  19. The prince keeps telling us that his planet is so small. Is it perhaps too small? Is it confining? His consciousness seems to expand throughout the novel, which is the story of a journey of discovery. The prince seeks to expand his horizons. When he surveys the landscape on Earth, he is saddened by the vastness of it compared to his own tiny planet. On his journey, however, the prince appreciates more and more the ephemeral matter of his life, the ties that bind him to others, to himself, and to his own past. His planet is his home and he is responsible for it. Does the prince leave his planet, planning all along to come back to it? I think not. I think he operates primarily on feelings; he follows his heart. While that seems noble, the prince discovers that it is not enough to follow his heart; there is a kind of leadership required of him. Everything seems to change for the prince once he learns the meaning of ephemeral. But why does he not return to his own planet the instant he finds out the rose is in danger of speedy disappearance? Is it because he doesn’t know enough yet to save her?
  20. The rose naively plans to defend herself against all the world with her mere four thorns. It won’t work. She is so naïve, and that is one of her winning qualities, one of the reasons the prince loves her. It is inseparable from his feelings for her. Her belief in her defense rises also from her vanity. Her character has flaws.
  21. The prince is saddened by the rose garden because he believes it cheapens his feeling toward the rose. He had thought her unique and with the appearance of others of her species, she appears common, not one and only, but merely one of many. What the prince will discover is that it is the nature of his relationship with the rose that lends her a uniqueness: there can be only one rose for the prince.
  22. What makes his rose important, the fox tells the prince, is that he has wasted time on her. His most precious possession  — his time – has been squandered on the rose: watering, protecting, humoring her. It gives meaning to his life. If the rose did not exist, perhaps the prince would have to invent her.
  23. What makes the desert beautiful, the prince tells the pilot, is that somewhere it hides a well. The pilot ponders the mysterious radiance of the sands, and discerns something shimmering within. The natural landscape takes on a symbolic value. Beauty is within. Our aesthetic sensibility transcends the material universe and meets our spiritual needs – the well promises to quench our thirst for truth.
  24. The prince takes some bit of truth from each planet he visits. His concept of truth is therefore fragmented and needs integration. The businessman shows the prince the paradigm of capitalism – which the prince recognizes as an artificial construct. The conceited man shows the limitations that come from bordering the whole universe with the self. It makes the prince want to go beyond the limits of the self. The lamplighter is alienated from his self through his frustrating and pointless labor. All of these bits of truth come together on the Earth, as the prince meets the fox and begins to appreciate the meaning of his journey.
  25. The prince is Christ-like in his self-sacrifice. But in many ways the prince is like all heroes of the mind. He undergoes an ordeal for the sake of others. He travels a dangerous path, surmounting obstacles, to capture a boon for all humankind. He returns with this gift and gives it to us. Like Christ, the prince rises from the dead. He conquers time. He conquers death. In his acceptance of death, the prince is like Socrates, whose allegiance was to wisdom more than self-preservation.

 

Back on Earth

“The object of government is not to change men from rational beings into beasts or puppets, but to enable them to develop their minds and bodies in security, and to employ their reason unshackled; neither showing hatred, anger, nor deceit, nor watched with the eyes of jealousy and injustice.” – Spinoza

How does this pertain to the gun debate? Obviously, if the object of government is to enable citizens to develop their minds and bodies in security, the government is doing a horseshit job.

You may say the problem isn’t guns, but then you must be deaf, dumb, and blind, not necessarily in that order, or you may be a firm believer in gun rights. But if you are the government, your object is enabling the citizens to develop their minds and bodies in security, not necessarily enabling them to carry weapons of war.

If your only object were security, the solution would be simple, albeit arduous: disarm the populous.

If you ban guns, only criminals would have guns.

True, and then you’d be half-way there. If you’ve got a gun, you’re a criminal.

You can’t arrest everybody who’s got a gun.

You can’t deport every illegal immigrant either, but that doesn’t mean you won’t try.

You can’t even have a gun for hunting?

You can have a gun for hunting, but you can’t have one to go shoot up the school or a movie theater or the mall.

How about a gun for target practice?

Target practice?

Yeah. I just like to shoot at shit.

Fuck you. No. No guns for target practice I just like to shoot at shit. No guns for fun.

What about hunting?

Hunting is grandfathered in. We were hunters forty times longer than we’ve been farmers.

We have the inalienable right to keep and bear arms. It’s in the Constitution. Which is our Bible! Second amendment, baby! Can’t take away our guns!

Why can’t you bring a gun on a plane?

No guns allowed on planes. We’re all in agreement on that.

Everybody except Goldfinger over there.

Why does your right to bear arms dissolve in the air?

We have made the rational decision that no one can board a plane with a weapon. Because we want everyone to be safe while they’re flying, but once they touch down, it’s a different matter.

Once your back on earth, back in the jungle, back in the wild west, it’s best to arm yourself.

Arm the Teachers!

Plato with a Pistol.

Aristotle with an AR-15.

Not surprisingly, if you turn for advice to the National Retailers Association, the answer is: Buy More Guns!

There are already more guns in America than there are people. It’s going to take a while to get rid of all of them, but eventually the guns are going to win.

https://www.amazon.com/Hall-Fools-Shamrock-McShane/dp/1542928419

http://www.sonofsham.com/tech/vp.htm