I realized in my session with my Rubenfeld Synergist yesterday that I was longing to be a part of something wonderful – something that I didn’t have to lead. I want to be invited to the party, not host it. I want to join festivities already in progress.
I have mostly been leading those last years.
I am ready to follow for a change.
There is no explicit accusation of Gertrude here. He does not say, “You messed up” or “You destroyed my careful plan,” or “You meddling woman.”
But my woman’s brain hears an accusation anyway. We learn very early to read the smallest of signals, to see the first hint of threat.
There isn’t a threat written here and I’ve never seen one played – but I hear one. I hear a “Watch out, Gertrude.” I hear a “You’ll pay for this later.” I hear a “Why do you ruin everything?” and a “Why did you have to come in and tell him that bad news right then?” Probably this means that I’ve known too many assholes in my life. But I would be curious to see this moment played as the threat I hear.
This may be one of the most honest lines that Claudius says to another person. He really did have to work Laertes for a LONG time. But that work is not just calming, of course. That work was carefully manipulating his rage, carefully focusing it where he wanted it. But he DID have to do a LOT to “calm” him.
I feel like Claudius mostly uses her name when he wants to boss her. When he calls her by her name, he wants her to do something. In this case, it’s following Laertes. And the line he’s about to say might be interpreted as an accusation. It is, after all, Gertrude who has come in and given them enflaming news. She’s messing up his game. I feel like – if they were more in cahoots, she would not have burst in to deliver this news. If Gertrude were closely aligned with Claudius in his political workings and manipulations, she would have waited to tell Laertes about Ophelia. Is she intentionally enflaming Laertes? A Gertrude who has firmly aligned herself with Hamlet might do such a thing. I don’t think she’s aligned herself with anyone, though. She seems to just be operating on nerves by this point in the play. And now she’s the only woman left standing.
There are things I used to long for a man to say and/or do to me. Principally, I remember really wishing some romantic partner would take my face in his hands, look deep into my eyes and then kiss me.
I no longer find this taking a woman’s face in a man’s hands particularly romantic. Now it strikes me as a bit possessive and patronizing – which is definitely the thing we are taught to find attractive in male partners.
I’m not sure if I’d like to be called a sweet queen anymore. I just don’t know. I suppose it would depend on the context. This context is not it.
What a shame this contraction never really caught on! We’d have people walking along getting ideas saying I HAT! Which surely would yield to some variations like I COAT! (short for I coa(s)t) or I PANTS! (short for I pant after his pants.) But no, we let “I ha’t” go – to contract with us no longer, leaving jokes un-made, crazy contractions un-contracted.
What I would bet on, cunning-wise:
Understanding motivations underneath behaviors or words
seeing inside hidden things
talking with children as if they were people
putting my finger on the thing we’ve been talking around
making something complex, simpler
singing something shitty and patriarchal in a way that it turns it upside down
Making someone who feels bad about something, feel a little better (Exception: my partner, for whom I have rarely been able to do this)
Untangling a Rainbow Twirler
When I found out that my vision was inaccurate – in fact, has probably always been more or less – it shook the very foundation of my sense of self. The thought that my brain doesn’t allow me to see some things as they are was distressing. I always thought of myself as seeing things clearly, at least metaphorically, if not actually – so finding out that my vision has always been compromised made me uncomfortable. It didn’t help to realize that none of us are actually seeing things entirely accurately – that our vision is constructed in our brains by both what is before us and what we imagine.
I do eye exercises now. I practice with a mirror, seeing both before me and behind me at once. I practice seeing double in the background and I practice seeing double in the foreground. I practice bringing a lens toward me and away, transforming what I see from big to small, from blurry to clear. It takes practice to see accurately.
I think I’d really enjoy a Renaissance of using “soft” this way – as in “hang on a minute,” as in “Wait!” as in “Hold it.” Soft is – so much softer than all of those words and in these hard times, I’d very much appreciate a softening in moments of revelations.
Blast in proof calls into being a kind of glass photographic studio. It is a house built of glass, the walls are photographic plates and they are pulled into focus by the way the sun hits them – then printed in the setting of the sun. The house is full of images, proofs. Then – one day, some apprentice mixes the wrong chemicals together and a terrible explosion creates a blast that can be seen for miles.
And how interesting that Claudius calls the murder of his nephew a PROJECT. This establishing a centuries old tradition of hiding destructive activities in the language of creative ones. Claudius would make an excellent CEO in just the way he would make a terrible one – in just the way so many are terrible.