Thought for the day: Get off’n your butts and move around. You think our fine con’try was built up from people sitting on they’s butts playing games and watching the teleyvision all the live long days? Now, I won’t go saying these is bad things, ever-body needs something they’s liken to do, but if your butt is sitting round without a change, what you think happens to that one body you got, and you won’t get another one. And them bowels won’t move right! Them mus-cles flabber up. Get some good food in that gut; get them legs and arms moving round; get that brain to flipity flopping on inneresting ways of the world. You seen a calf be born? Or a butterfly come out its co-coon? You seen the sunrise or the sunset? I done mean on no inner-net; I’m talking real live. Now get up and larn something, dagnabit.
At last night rehearsals, I realized I hadn’t studied Act II as thoroughly as Act I, and the reason is because of the choreography and movements of Act I seemed “scarier” to me and I practiced them more. I knew a good bit of the parts on Act II, but I also knew I didn’t know things I should. We were allowed to use our scripts, but the difficulty is I have a walker – to hold the script while hanging onto the walker as Clementine isn’t easy; then there’s the reading glasses I have to use to read fine print, so I put them on, took them off—a pain. I simply have to be off-book now. So, I’m going to use today to do no writing, no editing, no goofing off, and I’m going to study the script with and without the music. All that said, last night didn’t go too bad. I really felt—
“—now you hold on here a minute, Miz Kathryn.”
“Now who you thinking it is? I just got a bone to pick; just a little wing bone is all. And by the way, I done went and changed your thought of the day. What in tarnation was all that about gypsy moths finding virgins? I never heard the likes.”
Clementine, I’m trying to write a diary here.
“And you think you done need my help? Is that what you saying? Done need my help becoming me? Huh.”
Okay, okay…What is it then?
“At the revival scene, you was pursing them lips too much. I done look none like that. I look like this…”
That’s what I was doing!
“Nuh uh, you did it like this…..you got to let me take you over, Girlie. And I wouldn’t be feelings satisfied you memberized to put your hand over your heart at the end, so boogly woogly whoopie…until you got it all right, you best stay off the smug.”
I think I’m a little old to be called Girlie, and I wasn’t being smug, I was just happy I remembered. Huhn.
“You get to be my age and then you can talk back sass. Now just listen and quit changing up the subjects. I never seen the likes of you. Flippery jippering all over. Can’t be still in your mind or your body one little bit. All a time floopy dooping. Listen up: you got to let me do what I do and you just go on and let me. Not like when you writes them books and stories. When you writes them stories, you let them be like a person all on they’s own, but we got to join together, like scrambling up an egg, see? Not like the hard boil egg where it separates, see?”
Wait. I think I know what you’re saying. Even when I write in first person, the character is still separate, not me, but someone else. I let them form into an entity, like, uh, like the yolk and white separate when boiled, yes. But, in acting, I have to let the character take me over; it isn’t a separate thing, but one person, like the yolk and white are mixed and become one thing, right?
“Uh huh. That’s right. So when you be me, old Clementine, you let me step out your funny little brain and step into your body all the way. You got to let me do the walking and the talking and pursing my lips like I do. You got to stop thinking about what you look like on that stage and just let me be Clementine.”
I think I got it.
“I gots another bone to pick off. Did you have you some supper last night?”
I got too busy yesterday. I ate some cornbread, though.
“See, that there’s what I’m saying. People now-days think they’s too busy for this, and they’s too busy for that. You don’t think pulling a farm up and keeping it going is busy? My daddy and his daddy was farmers and good ones, wale, least ways until we moved to the mountain, then it didn’t work out too good, all the cows gone belly up on us. But them farmers feed the whole world, donchoo know. And you done be hearing about us saying we got too busy to eat our supper, or say hi to a neighbor, or teach our kids right manners, or give a friend a needy hand. Huh. Busy. Huh. How you gone keep up your strength? How them bowels gone move right without the food in it to move around in the inter-testines?”
Okay, okay, Clementine. I’ll eat. I just got…I just…I’ll eat. Now I got a question for you. How come you never married?
“Oh, now. Hehehe. I done rightly know. Just seem the years pass and I never found nobody who was better’n my daddy was to my momma. Some time I feel lonesome, but t’other times I’m glad I don’t have no man shedding and snoring and stinking—I gots a dog for that.”
What about Bud?
“Hehehehe. Girlie, he was too young for me! Oh at first he would-a thought I was a catch, but then a few years down to the road I’d get more wrankly and he’d be looking at me side-a-ways. Nope, can’t say that would’ve ever worked, even if he had’t runned off with another.”
“You shore do like that word, donchoo?”
It came from you, Clementine. The entire town says it.
“And you know why? Cause our momma’s would whup the tar out our hides if we said what we say when nobody else is round, or least ways when our mommas, daddies, and the preacher done gone off. If’n I said goddammit or shit instead of dang, my momma got out the switch and went to flying with it. Even when I was a grow’d woman, she’d tell me I’d get a tanning. People’s got to where they’s cussing up a storm and done worry over who might hear it, even old mommas standing there and they’s some young’un cussing like I never heard coming out a mouth. I could switch me up some a you young’uns, I could.”
It’s a different world, that’s all, Clementine. Just different.
“Different my wrankled butt! It’s the same old world, same old one we all the time had. Peoples are the same, too. They’s just lost each other cause they’s got they’s faces up in a screen all the time, in all the electronical machines. They’s mommas and daddys got to run off to work, poor things is working they’sef’s raggedy to buy they’s kids things they don’t need, and the kids eat candy and food that comes out a paper sack whilst they carry bookbags on they’s backs full of too danged much homework, if’n you ask me. What happened to kids playing out to the yard? All kinder things that makes a person feel things is changed up, but they’s not that different. They’s all the same. All the time through all the histories peoples try to think they’s different, and they all the same. Only the things we built up and make up in labertories and the teleyvisions and all that makes all it seem crazy and all swirly about. But, peoples? They’s all the time the same.”
I guess your right, Clementine.
“You bet I am. I didn’t get this old without seeing and hearing and thinking on all that. I read books. I watch things. I watch peoples. Hope Falls West Virginia isn’t full of stupids, though we gots our share of them. We been though lots, though. What with the tragedies.”
You mean, Bat Boy and the Parkers and all?
"Yup. And you just let me tell that story in my way whilst you up on that stage. I been through it. It’s my flashback. Mine and all the town. We all been through it and ever-person on that there stage got a story to tell with they’s bodies and they’s words, no matter how small. All them smalls makes into a big ole whole.”
I think I got it, Clementine. But, I have one more question…where’s your walker this morning?
“Hehehehe. Now donchoo rememberize what I told you? I done all a time need that walker. Some days I am stoved up, but t’other days I feel I can do a cartwheel. Want me to do a cartwheel right now?”
Um, I don’t know…I mean, maybe that’s not a good idea.
“Oh, you just jealous since you never could do a cartwheel. I been poking inside your head and I opened a childhood door and peeked in. I seen you practicing and busting up that butt. Hehehehe. You got a swirly head, though, Girlie. I went poking and it’s a wonder you can think straight half the time. I never seen the likes! They’s some strange looking goings on, but its inneresting. But, you got to push all that yammering and blabbervating and thunderstorm lightening strikes to one side and let me he’p you.”
All right, Clementine. I’ll let you help me, thank you. Now, I need to get going; I mean, I have to study the script and all. We have choreography tonight.
“Ohhh! James will he’p you all. You just listen to him, like you been listening to that Mark feller, and that Anne. Oh, but I love the sanging and the dancing! Ohhhh! I used to cut up some rugs. I was made for dancing. Made for it. Wale, you go on. And done forget to eat supper. I done want to hear no more about being too busy. Never heard the likes. Your bowels’ll seize up and get blocked and you’ll walk about full of sh—
—I get the picture, Clementine.
“hehehehe. I reckon you do. Tootles!”
Tootles, Clementine. Tootles.
Theater word of the day: Apron (it’s what I wear when I cooks up my supper. Them theater folks got strange words for things. Huh.)
In a traditional theatre, the part of the stage which projects in front of the curtain.