It pleases me very much to think that Kyd may have written Arden of Faversham. It is a play that I love, it is so ridiculous and over the top, and somehow that feels very modern. It feels much more vivid and recent to me than Spanish Tragedy. Spanish Tragedy feels much more anchored in time somehow. Maybe because ST has dukes and princes, and AoF is regular people?
If Kyd wrote all or most of those he must have had much skill and range. And he obviously could do gore for laughs or for tears.
I am liking more and more the idea that these guys were riffing off each other-- daring each other to do better, to try new things. And this at a time when the wrong words could get you thoroughly dead. So brave. They were so brave.
In other news, had to run out, asked daughter to walk Sabir. Got text from her 'I did not have time to give him a long walk, but I did give him an old shoe full of peanut butter.' She says she thought he looked sad.
Someday future historians will wade though out texts, as we wade through letters now. We will flummox them...
You guys have probably seen this and read it already. It is new to me this week. And I have feelings. I cannot seem to link to the article so I am going to quote from it.
'Carol Rutter, professor of Shakespeare and performance studies at the University of Warwick, told BBC News: "It will still be open for people to make up their own minds. I don't think [Oxford University Press] putting their brand mark on an attribution settles the issue for most people."
But it is clear Shakespeare did work with several other figures in theatre at the time, she added.
"I believe Shakespeare collaborated with all kinds of people... but I would be very surprised if Marlowe was one of them," she said.
"The reason for that is that while these were being written, Marlowe was the poster boy of theatre writing. Why would he agree to collaborate with a non-entity of an actor?"'
So Marlowe will be credited as a co-author on Henry iv, to start with.
I have no trouble at all believing that Kit Marlowe would have co-authored with WS. He worked with actors constantly. They were the pointy end of what he was trying to do. There is no reason to think he did not respect them. And it is true that the Elizabethan's were preoccupied with social class. But these guys invented upward mobility.
Marlowe and WS were exactly the same social class. Kit had more education, because he was lucky enough to get the Parker Scholarship to take him through what I would call middle school, high school, and college.
I bet when Marlowe met WS he saw, not a non-entity, but another writer. They were the same age down to months. Shakespeare feels older to us because he lived to be older. I think we all sort of imagine him as middle aged and balding, patient, fatherly, paunchy, conservative. It is true that he avoided knife fights. We can be grateful for that at least.
But we have to imagine him as a roaring boy at this time, a young man full of swagger. Nice to think about.
And in any case, Kyd was the most famous author then. Spanish Tragedy was a blockbusting hit. Kyd and the actors were mobbed in the street. It did not stop Kyd from rooming with Marlowe, who was much less famous.
My own belief is that they all knew each other. They lived in a dense busy world crammed into a little space. They understood each other better than anyone on the outside understood them. When they disagreed it was almost as family.
Here are the interconnections, as I understand them:
WS and Marlowe on Henry 1v
WS and Kyd on part of the middle of Spanish Tragedy (maybe)
Marlowe and Kyd lived together in 1592-3. There is no reason to think that they never bounced things off each other.
Nashe and Marlowe worked together on something, I forget what
Nashe and Jonson on Isle of Dogs. (Later, after 1593, because Jonson was younger.)
This is not to say that I have any doubt about the Shakespeare 'authorship question.' I believe he sat down with his own hands and wrote his plays. But I don't think he did it in a total vacuum. I think he talked ideas with other writers, and probably with the actors too. Picture a culture sort of like Hemingway in Paris maybe? Lots of writing, but also lots of sitting around and drinking, people watching, laughing, fighting.
I am glad that they had the warmth of friendship for a little while. Their lives were not easy. They all had bad times too.
I have voted in 6 states now, as I moved through the last 30 years. (I even voted for my mother one year when she was no longer competent. I just had to promise that I would do my best to vote as she would have done. That was easy, mom was never shy about her political opinions, and it was a rare area where we totally agreed.) The ballots have never been the same twice it seems, every four years they say they have redesigned them, tweaked them to make them better. They are always a little puzzling. They always seem to include people I have not had time to research.
And in every state there are poll workers doing earnest best to help. Here in Brooklyn there are a lot of elderly people, and there are kids, voting for the first time. And there are people who speak English as a second, or third, language. I feel humbled by them. They have come here from somewhere else, and they are eager to vote, they really care. So the polls here, like the hospitals, are staffed with Spanish speakers, Arabic speakers, Russian speakers, French... (And that is just Coney Island.)
I am so ready to vote, you guys. I know I have spent a lot of time and space, especially on Twitter, on politics. Tip O'Neil famously said that all politics is local. He meant, I think, that the down-ballot choices we make matter a great deal. He did not really live to see the days of Twitter feeds where one has to worry about boring or alarming overseas friends.
I am ready for this thing to be decided. I am ready to think about Marlowe and sailing ships, and the actual events of the world, and our ordinary sized place in them.
In other news, my stove and hot water problems continue. The gas company came out and said I must have a new stove. I am fine with that, but they went away again without fixing my gas. This is presumably because the stove,(which I have been using for three years,) is unsafe. It is true that sometimes if you turn the burners up all the way there are some unexpected flames here and there. It is true that it has no knobs.
I suppose it will be nice to get a new stove. But while I wait we continue to have no hot water. Mike does not mind at all. He took cold showers for years on shipboard. A Navy shower is supposed to take something like 3 minutes. You step into the cold and get skin wet, you step back and apply soap. You step in and rinse soap. He has hardly any hair so he does that with soap too. There is no lingering. I myself prefer a sit in the tub, up to my chin in super hot water. Sometimes I bring a book. I have not been able to do that for a while now.
Landlord has put the heat on. This would normally be fine. He is complying with the law which says that it is cold enough in mid October to need the heat. Unfortunately it is in the mid 80's now. We have no real temperature control here, the heaters just go even when the thermostat is at zero. And we are on the top floor. We get all the heat from below too. So we have the windows open and a fan going, which is pretty silly.
Hope you are all well.
I have some days off from work this week. I am cleaning today so it will not bug me later. Was up half the night working on the Marlowe thing. Then Sabir had to be walked at 4 am for some reason. Street and park empty, which was nice. Still very dark then, not a sniff of dawn. Very serene, everyone asleep. I like the empty dark street and the warm feeling of everyone sleeping behind their dark windows. I am less patient in my heart with people who are awake, being noisy, crowding me on the subway. I suppose it is kind of the way you can be irritated with a child all day, and filled with tenderness once they are asleep in bed. I know it is better to appreciate people when they are conscious enough to feel it. I cannot always do that.
Came back and Yodel climbed up in bed with me, wanted me to pat him. He tends, as he gets older to redirect with his claws out. I end up shoving him away, sometimes I want to sleep, not have my hair pulled or my face scratched at.
Anyway, by then Mike was getting up. He has a two hour commute to the Bronx, and is quite accustomed to getting up at 5. So I got up too. The gas company is coming here today as we have had a problem with out gas. (One of those things where you beg them to come and they say 'between 8 am and midnight, be home...') Luckily I can be home. But you have to be awake too... They say they will call first, but I have known them to dissemble.
I am reading 'Autobiography of a Seaman' by Admiral Lord Cochrane.
I have tried to read books about him before, but found them hard going. Of course I have great fondness for him, he was the template for Jack Aubrey, and for Horatio too in some ways.
I was not sure how i would like Cochrane's own memoirs. I do like them though. They are dry and funny, he is more human than Nelson somehow.
He has just desribed how, as a 3rd lieutenant, he had spent weeks saying 'there is no such thing as pain, it is all in the mind.' (Older men apparently restrained themselves from striking him, which indicates a happy or at least tolerant ship.) Then Cochrane did something silly and cut his hand. And the doctor had to sew it up, and it really hurt!!! And he never said that again. And it would seem nobody said anymore about it.
And it all just goes to show how young he was. He would have been finishing high school here. (He began at 17, like Horatio, but made lt scandelously early. ) He was just a kid, with ridiculous notions.
Anyway, i am liking the book.
This is why, for years I did not have a job, except for the dog-walking. Dogs don't judge. But I cannot dog-walk in Coney Island. It is not safe here and now for that.
But in the last month I have gotten a job. I am doing phone fund-raising, for a bunch of charities. I like it all right. I can do a good phone voice, and I like the little snips of peoples lives when I call them. Most of the people have given to the particular charities before, so that makes it easier. I am getting money from about half the people I call.
But, as Homer Simpson once said, working really cuts into my sitting around time! And I can feel the anxiety creeping up again. Other people are doing much better than me, some of them have been there longer, but not all. I don't know what is going to happen.
The days are very quiet here, when I am here. I have been trying to wrestle the Marlowe thing into some sort of sense. It was written as a series of loosely connected snips. I want to see if I can make it into a sensible narrative. (Or maybe two. The parts about Kit's early life seem to me different than the parts with him and Tom Kyd.)
I have also been reading back over the Hornblower stuff; reading mine, and others too. How would you guys feel about doing some sort of Following Sea old work remix? Not an assigned thing, but like, everyone just choose something and write a piece connected to it? Maybe a sequel or pre-quel? Maybe an au or different POV? We could pick a date to post them by. I would be willing to do the legwork to keep track of it all, if anyone wanted in. What so you say? It might be fun.
And I have been watching the election. Today all the repubs are repudiating Trump and saying that they are SHOCKED that he is a disrespecter of women. They are saying that they themselves have daughters, and wives and moms, and they cannot imagine... Two things about that: thing the first: they knew all along what kind of monster he was and is. They were fine with that. This is what they wanted. Now it is too late to be scared because they have the monster by the ears and dare not let go. Thing two is is this: It is a little late to remember that men exist within a framework of women. Most people have a sister or a daughter or a wife, one of those. And everyone had a mom, if only for a while. Did they really think that someone who was so deep down ugly, would not speak and act that way? I cannot believe any of those old men were fooled. But I am damn sure their wives, mothers, daughters and sisters were not. If those old rich men were in a quandry, which I doubt, they should have asked their mothers.
I have been watching the footage of Hurricane Matthew. Very glad I don't live in Jax any more. Of course we had Sandy right here in Coney Island. We did not live in Coney then, but in Sunset Park which is much higher ground. We were not part of the flooding. And it is flooding from the sea that causes most of the trouble. Coney was devastated. Place has still not recovered. (For example, there is a little community garden here, with chickens and sucks and vegetables growing. It is cheerful to see, and a good idea. But I wish they would just grow flowers. I would not dare to eat anything grown in the soil here. It is full of contamination from years of ugly industry, which was sort of contained until Sandy.)
Looking at Florida, very strange to see places I knew, underwater. Still Florida will be ok. DR and Haiti will have a harder time. Lots of people here have family back there. They must be frantic with worry.
Hope you are all well.
What are the things we value on this planet? Respect? Kindness? Human Dignity? How do we care for the smallest of humans? Who cares, and who does not? It is not just big things like the bombing of cities. It is about paying such an inexcusable wage to the vulnerable that they have to leave their kids somewhere worrisome and hope for the best. It is about paying a crap wage to the people who watch and protect our children. This is what happens when some children, or children in some cities, or children of some colors, are worth less than others.
The face of that man in the ambulance moves me. He is so young himself. He reminds me of my son, of my daughter's friends. Ya Allah, indeed.
I like to think that I would dig for hours in broken cement to reach a strangers baby. I hope I would. But I know in myself the times when I have failed to speak up against unkindness, or injustice. I have a coward's mouth-- less so as I get older, perhaps. But I should be getting older faster, if I am to be any use.
I read things like this, and I think: here am I in my house, with my computer and my tea-cup. And I feel a scalding shame for every complaint I have ever made. I have not had to leave my kids somewhere unsafe, not ever. And still the world has hurt them at various times. The world hurts us all.
When that young white hat is finally able to wash, and go home, what will he go to? Does he have somewhere safe to go? Will he get a cup of tea? (Probably that at least.) Will someone listen to him as he tells of the baby so small in his arms? Will he say 'somebody had to do it, anyone would have done it?' Will he cry then, or just stare into space? Will the listener understand?
What about the Kentucky day care worker? What so they go home to? Will they lie awake at night ashamed of what they have done? Will they be able to trace the path of their own life to such ugliness? They should have had a different job, certainly.
Sorry to hit you all with such heavy stuff. I think we all need a fuzzy kitten intervention.