Tuesday, August 07, 2012

speaking of sonnets

Working on the video of my monologue The Dark Lady Sonnets, which is based on my entry in this year's Shakespeare Birthday project, reminds me of the weirdness surrounding my sonnets when I posted them online over the course of a few years.

For most of the time I was posting them I put them on a separate page, so you had to click the link that said "sonnets" to read them. Nobody had to read them, even accidentally. And not only did I not mention anybody by name in the sonnets, you'd have to personally know the people in question, and my relationship with them and be a very close reader of the sonnets to have any idea what I was talking about, because the references were pretty obscure - because that's the way art works.

This is all pretty much ancient history, except that about a year ago I received an email that addressed the topic. It was an epic jeremiad, actually - the author was mad at me because I criticized the concept of his one-man show, which involved tricking the audience, kind of like the Royal Nonesuch in "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn." But somewhere in the middle of the epic he wrote:
...YOU also need to understand that your dealing with your emotions arouses emotions in other people - emotions that are equally as valid as your own. So they deal with it in THEIR own ways. And, if it includes making light of things that make them uncomfortable--yes, even making fun of you--so be it. Not everyone likes having erotic and sometimes insulting poetry written about them, whether it explicitly names them or not.
Now as my friend Bruce said when I described this to him: "why do they care?"

Why indeed? Especially since the person who wrote the email, and the person who most prominently attacked me  - she posted some insulting "poems" about me on a couple of occasions  - were not mentioned in the sonnets. I don't even know the woman who attacked me. They are friends of the people mentioned in the sonnets. How did the sonnets become the concern of these other people?

And as for the people mentioned in the sonnets, why did they tell other people I wrote about them, and why do they pretend to care what I think of them? They certainly made it clear to me they had no regard for my opinion.

Well, I was going to write a long analysis of mob psychology, and how pathetic it is to make enemies out of strangers so that other members of your middle-aged gang will think you're cool, but I saw something by Anne Lamott on Facebook today, and I'm going to quote that instead:
You own everything that happened to you.
Tell your stories.
If people wanted you to write warmly about them they should've behaved better.