Whodunnit

It doesn’t matter who you are until it matters a lot.  It doesn’t matter who that guy is until he’s Barack Obama.

I saw an exhibit of paintings of Shakespeare.  Without Shakespeare, I don’t know that I would be three dimensional, or require food and water.  I know a lot of people feel that way.  This small square room had three portraits of Shakespeare, one original and two copies.

The original portrait is a big deal.  It had been flown over from England for the New Yorkers.  It was the oldest portrait of Shakespeare, maybe even from life.  Or some such story.  I wasn’t really paying attention.  I was sad that everyone seemed sold on Shakespeare having a receding hairline.  That messes with my fantasies a little.  I really feel like he had a lot of hair, and it was wavy and a little crazy, like Einstein.  Of course, some of us think Shakespeare was not even himself, if you know what I mean.  So who should care about the hairline?

Upstairs, at the same place, they had some of Thoreau’s journals.  One of Bob Dylan’s sketchbooks.  I have drawn lots of sketches like that, of hotel rooms, of streets in towns I’ll only see once.  I was deeply in love with Thoreau at seventeen.  Now I think he is too sober and too severe.  We are still in touch, though.

A friend was working on a movie set.  Before I went to the museum, to see the Shakespeares, I stopped by to pick up his house key.  “Michelle Pfeiffer’s here,” he said.  I would have been more excited about her husband.

A writer whose book I liked, she liked me.  She liked my gaps and my roughness and my snideness and nakedness.  Did it matter that she was a person with a name that’s used more ink than mine?  Did it matter that she was my mother’s age?  Did it matter that I imagined some loneliness I had felt, she knew?  And didn’t she make me someone else?

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