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Stories and Texts for Nothing by Samuel Beckett

March 7, 2014

Discovery & Release; Pastel on Paper by Janet Paparelli; 10″ x 14″;
December, 1980; Private Collection

It took me only four tries during the course of a year to get into this first “text” : “The Expelled”. The reading was difficult before I found the key.  I liked some of the phrases as poetic philosophical notes, and so underlined them with a green pencil, e.g. Memories are killing. So you must not think of certain things…That is to say, you must think of them for a while, a good while, every day several times a day, until they sink forever in the mud… & What must it have been like then for the man I had overgrown into…& So, for once, they [his landlords] had confined themselves to throwing me out and no more about it. I had time, before coming to rest in the gutter, to conclude this piece of reasoning...& But it was merely my hat sailing towards me through the air, rotating as it came. I caught it and put it on. They were most correct, according to their god…

I also wrote comments as thoughts occurred to me, e.g. Even if one is not thrown out of the house physically, but made to leave in a more surreptitious way, it is as Beckett writes, that one is thrown down the stairs–to hurt on the sidewalk–and then, while lying there, told to take your hat with you.

Then: Beckett: When my father died I could have got rid of this hat, there was nothing more to prevent me, but not I…
Me: When the enforcer dies, we enforce ourselves.
Me, again: Unlike Beckett, I was not thrown out, but escaped. Even after years of conditioned fear, I had to run.
Beckett: I felt ill at ease with all this air about me, lost before the confusion of innumerable prospects.
From Beckett’s ending: I don’t know why I told this story. I could just as well have told another.
* …Taking a hint from Edward Albee, I read the first part slowly & aloud. [that was my key to getting into it]. Albee thinks that is the best way to approach Beckett. I liked taking my time–just being with the words.  Beckett is so poetic in one way, yet so down to earth in other ways. I like the ending because I’ve come to think the same way, i.e. I could have done something else, but instead, I did “this”.

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