The ball has long since dropped on Times Square. Son is with a group of friends in the City. Self is on the couch, sipping Yogi Sleepytime Tea and watching Charlie Sheen on “Two and a Half Men” (in light of recent events, admittedly a rather creepy experience).
Just before this, she stopped watching Franco Zeffirelli’s “Hamlet,” which arrived only today from Netflix. She got to only about a third of the way through. Mel Gibson is just about the most scenery-chewing Hamlet ever. Which is terrible because the role of Hamlet is all about interiority. At least it is, in self’s humble opinion. Finally, dear Mel rolled his eyes just one too many times and self quit watching and turned back to cable. About the only reasons for dear blog readers to rent this version of Hamlet would be a) to see how astonishingly beautiful Glenn Close is in the role of Hamlet’s Mum; b) to see how astonishingly beautiful Helena Bonham-Carter is in the role of Ophelia; and c) to see how astonishingly beautiful a young man named Nathaniel Parker is in the small role of Laertes.
Self can hear firecrackers popping, somewhere in the distance. She is three-fourths of the way through Franz Kafka: The Complete Stories, which she started reading right after Alexandra Fuller’s (wonderful) Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight. She finds that Kafka’s stories need to be read in a pell-mell rush, preferably in one sitting. For the paragraphs are thick and dense and continue for pages and pages without a break. And if self stops reading in the middle of a story, she can never find the place where she left off, and the story makes no sense.
There have been some beautiful stories — “The Metamorphosis”, of course, but also “The Judgement” and, self’s particular favorite, a truly shattering story called “A Country Doctor”. Self read this book all through Christmas and the week leading up to today. Never since son’s birth (when self was reading Dickens’ Bleak House) has self’s reading matter been so at odds with her reality.
Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.