Saturday, March 12, 2005

The Hollow Men

I have been thinking in the last 24 hours about passion and art. I think writers write about writing, dancers dance about dancing, painters paint about painting. When a passion leads you with the tools you have, it becomes about the tool. You become the tool. Therefore you can do the thing. When Hamlet held up the skull, it was Shakespeare looking in the feared mirror, looking at death, the end of the art, the end of the man. He was in the grave, knowing that it would come. He was looking at himself looking at him. The reflection of the man by the art. The hollowed skull the remains of the man. But here we are reading the works, reminded by him of the fact of the words. He gave us his words by giving of himself. He gave us himself by giving us his words. Critics often say Shakespeare’s genius was his ability to offer us all of mankind. Womankind too. He captured all of the pains and gains and sorrows and pleasures in his works. All kinds of personalities and people depicted. He did that because he wrote truthfully. When you write with truth, you cannot help but succeed. He was an actor not acting when he was writing. He wrote about acting, plays, but he wasn’t acting when he was a writer. He was writing about his view of the world, his fearful place in it, when he wrote. He used his tools, the stage where he could be, the page where he lived. That comes out in every single thing I have read of his. He feared the world, death, aging, the loss of the gift of it all, but he turned that into “Shakespeare”. I picked up Will in the World again last night. I haven’t dipped into that for a week or so. His family has just lost their fortune, selling off plots of their property piecemeal. What that must have done to their young son. His future, his family’s future unsure. No wonder he had such passion. He had to write. He had to live.

No comments:

Post a Comment