An audience is always warming but it must never be necessary to your work.--Gertrude Stein
Sometimes I crave having an audience,and I wish I could do something fantastic that would make people pay attention to me, and pay money to me. On the outside I look all brown and blue, but on the inside I'm maroon and kelly green and turquoise and fuschia. The thing is, anytime I have done something flashy I've found that the other side of fame brings some strange kind of shame, and worse, the fame wears off and leaves me diminished. It's hard to recover from that.
I was watching John Lennon on Behind the Music. After he left the Beatles he tried a solo career but he was so burned out, he had to quit for five years. People kept screaming whenever he walked by. Money people kept wanting him to make more product, but he was hating the work that he used to love.
I wrote a blog entry once that I thought was so fun and light, others in my audience would love it. But the things I wrote were not only playing loose with the truth about someone I cared about very much, I did the exact thing to her that she would hate the most that I could possibly do, which was expose her on the internet when she's a technophobe who won't even do facebook. I threw her name out into the big, gaping maw of monsters and predators. And her picture too. And that one successful blog entry that got published made me feel worse than anything I've ever felt.
Gertrude has made a lot of mistakes in her past. She left her husband and ended up in poverty that was hard to dig out of. She had some health issues that she couldn't get taken care of because she was broke. She never had that many friends, since she was independent minded and couldn't really get on the same page with too many people. But I met her and found her to be such a break from the daily world. Her house is quiet and small and colorful and dusty. She makes little movies and composes songs. She gets her money from a small divorce settlement and her retirement, and some extra things she does like tarot card readings at Halloween time, and she makes things to sell, and grows herbs. I visit her and bring some bread or something. She's got hundreds of notions to talk about, and a library like you wouldn't believe.
There's a Gertrude in Shakespeare--the mother of Hamlet. At the opening of the play, Hamlet's father has died and his mother quickly married another guy. She get suspected of the murder and all kinds of things. In the end, there's doubt it was true.
That reminds me: people really don't know what's so, do they? They can only know what feels right, or have themselves and their thoughts validated by someone else. Then they feel at ease and feel good about what they've said or done, because their ego has been assuaged. This looks like I don't trust humanity. That could be so, but on the other hand it explains why things that started out good can have gone so wrong, like the little Christian fellowship that turns into a cult, or the New-age study group that causes all its followers to get divorced through "radical honesty."
Gertrude gave up religion mostly. She said there are times when she longs for answers and for something to be made right. But as far as belief in Christ, or any particular words or rituals, she believes those things are a part of mass consciousness of the past. I guess you could call her a "post-Christian" because she believes what Jesus taught was just the plain truth--that your relationship with suffering is the key to the way you live life. But as for Paul and the rest, they were men of thousands of years ago and they explained Christ in a way that worked out, but ultimately failed Jesus.
Well, this last visit with Gertrude was nice but I was glad to get home to my work. She is so interested in what she's doing, it spurs me to go home and make something of what I've got going on now.
Guest Gertrude of the Day: Yoko Ono because she was portrayed as some kind of a freak who ruined the Beatles and whose art stunk. But she loved John Lennon in a way that let him develop his unique self, and work out his problems in an authentic way, and didn't turn him into something like marriage does so many people. Also when he wasn't working she managed their money very well and kept them solvent. That's a Gertrude.