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?