Today is the 100th anniversary of Samuel Beckett's birth. Yes, Beckett was an Aries. Other famous people who share his birthday include Thomas Jefferson, Eudora Welty, Nellie McKay, and Rick (y) Schroder. I had to write that sentence or they'd retract my LA card.
Today, I am digging into my archives to pull out a piece I wrote when I first moved to Los Angeles. Then, after showing how much an overenthusiastic amateur I am, I am going to finish it off with my two favorite Beckett quotes. Happy Beckett Day.
What do you do when there's nothing more to be done? What do you do? Nothing. Ah-hah! Nothing to achieve---all achieved---all stories---variations on stories told, retold, rewritten, revisited. Nothing. Why do anything? Achievement? Then what? Then what? So what. Humor. A good laugh. Or maybe, just maybe, feel nothing. Not better. Why? Why better. Why. Can't we just be.
But to be. To be and not to express the being. To not express the state of being. Impossible. Why? Why expression? What achieved? No. None. No achievement. No great flag planting. No triumphant trophies overhead. That's it. The being and the expression. That's it.
Say I am me and I sit here cold and I can't write as fast as my head. The brain goes too fast for the pen. What to be done then? Capture as much as you can, hold it in the pen, let it go on the stage. Keep putting words on the page and finding the words in the pen. The hand might cramp, but it will be all right. Just keep going with the pen. In the pen is magic, in the pen is freedom---the testament of the moment---for in the moment is being.
And what is the vision? What does the pen see that isn't there? What do I see in the well-lit empty room in front of me? What is conquered? What is faked? What place? Real or fake? Who---who beside me. Who else there?
Why? Why do this? Not that. This. This writing? Who's to say? I say. I say it all. In the future. No, now. Now, it's all going. All of it. Every part. Where do I start? Then, to keep moving---putting everything in. Then, the end---can't fuck up the ending. It has to end well.
Everything. Every little detail. What isn't in front of me. Too much ambition, too much detail. Extend the moments into days into what. Then what. Then what. Joy? Pain? What do you do? What to do? All this time, what to do with it? Ahhh! What? Nothing. Quiet.
Me (yawn) to play. (Endgame)
You must go on, I can't go on, you must go on, I'll go on, you must say words, as long as there are any, until they find me, until they say me, strange man, strange sin, you must go on, perhaps it's done already, perhaps they have said me already, perhaps they have carried me to the threshold of my story, before the door that opens on my story, that would surprise me, if it opens, it will be I, it will be the silence, where I am, I don't know, I'll never know, in the silence you don't know, you must go on, I can't go on, I'll go on. (The Unnamable)