The first installment of The Arrow opens this Thursday. It’s titled The Arrow Quits Smoking. The reason for the Quits Smoking part is because this show is only one of a series of arrows that will show up at our theater in the coming months. It’s an on-going project, an ever-changing event. So in the future, the sentence will change: The Arrow Goes Home, or The Arrow Elopes, or The Arrow Builds a Bridge. The specific title is a way to place it, in context of the people in it, the writing that fills it, and the time when it happens.
In devising The Arrow, Lily and I talked about what it does, or what it could do. We were curious about its primary action. One possible action was said like this: the show could place things. Obviously, it was an early process question. Because what the hell does that mean? How could a show place athing? Can it place my keys on the desk? No, it doesn’t have hands.
We didn’t know what it meant either, but by starting somewhere so precarious, you can eventually find your balance. The following is an attempt to do that, to place myself where I currently am, using arrows.
↗ The day is starting and considering the last few days, there’s a little more light in the sky. It’s still overcast though. But it’s not like that downy blanket of grey that was draped over the city before. It’s like a giant is holding a soft iridescent flashlight on the other side of that blanket. I get up a little easier.
↘ Cat vomit on the floor. When I bend over to clean it up I find that my lower back aches. This happens for some reason when I get a little more sleep than usual. Every action, a reaction.
→ I like the holidays, but I definitely have a complicated relationship with them. That’s true for most of us, in some way or another. For me, they move quickly, they’re heavy with obligation, and they are surprisingly unpredictable for being so routine. I have a history of health issues corresponding with this time, for myself and my family. So those memories pop up, which sucks. But that’s looking back, not forward. This year I’ll buy a new Christmas ornament. Something cheap, from a Hallmark store in a shopping mall.
↑ The price of coffee continues to get higher.
↓ I check my phone.
↕ Recurring thoughts of where I’m getting my information, how I’m interacting with it, where I should be getting my information and how Ishould be interacting with it. These are tired observations and shouldn’t be written about or spoken towards without serious consideration. But where’s the time to consider? I had a friend quit this theater because after a while he found he didn’t even have time to read a book. Maybe I’ll walk to the lake today.
↖Lily steps in while I’m writing this, and I look over my shoulder. She’s standing and I’m sitting. It’s that arrangement in an office where the person standing can’t help but feel like they’re interrupting the person that’s sitting. So I turn my chair to face her. This is a more welcoming position. She begins to tell me about an idea she had last night, for a short essay that maybe we can post online. The essay would be about the peculiar arc of The Arrow,where the show’s payoff relies on an unconventional structure, on more of a counter-narrative, or an anti-hero’s journey. And then she tells me about the Michel Gondry movie Mood Indigo, how that story’s arc follows the physical…
↙…decline of a young woman, and how, at the end of the movie, she dies, and that’s it. It was a different way of experiencing a movie, she said, and it might converge with what the show is. I tell her that sounds awesome, and smart, but also that I’ve already started an essay to post today. She says, Oh, okay. I tell her that maybe it might make a good “post-post.” She doesn’t know what that means and she walks away.
←Before cleaning up the cat vomit, the first thing I did this morning, actually, was check my phone. I wanted to find out what was happening in France. I knew there was a large terrorist attack, but I didn’t know the details. This delaying, it happens to me. I actively ignore my Facebook feed, and I don’t have TV anymore (I’m of the “AppleTV-Netflix-Hulu” school). So if I’m not smart about looking up the news daily, I miss stuff, which isn’t good. But I get there eventually.
↺ I watched the attacks on the World Trade Center on a TV in a dining hall at my college. The unreality of that moment, through that medium, made space for awkwardness. Another kid watching it on the monitor, when the second tower fell, he chimed There it gooooes. Someone told him to shut up, which was good advice. The kid’s comment was instinctual, a knee-jerk response to an issue that would get more and more complicated as time went on. When I think back on it, everything that came after was a chorus of reactions: that kid’s errant comment, removing your shoes at the airport, infomercials for newly minted remembrance coins, the country grasping for a moving target, the country settling on one, unmoving scapegoat.
↻ I go back and take out some commas. Rewrite some sentences that don’t say anything, settle on most because you know what it’s just a blog and it will be gone soon.