Friday, March 31, 2006

He said, She said

I asked for and received permission to post the following e-mail I received from a man I met when I taught workshops at Esalen in Big Sur, CA. His name is John. We stay in contact mainly through the Yahoo site that The Sun Magazine set up for attendees and group leaders of the Sun workshops at Esalen to keep contact with each other. I was happily surprised to find a personal e-mail from John after I posted my first entry on Eugene O'Neill.

I'm posting this for two reasons:

1) I think John really expresses well what kind of writer O'Neill was.
2) Another person e-mailed me to say she has always felt that O'Neill spoke to her in a profound way, that his family in Long Day's Journey into Night represents her dysfunctional family. But she didn't want to say so on the blog; I'm not sure why. I think John's e-mail will inspire her.

Dear Theresa:

I caught some of the documentary, but missed the first half. I ate, slept and drank O’Neill when I was in the Navy: read all his plays and read whatever biographical info that was around back in the 60’s. Having read A Long Day’s Journey into Night several times (and I need to reread it again!) I am always amazed at how well he depicted my dysfunctional family as well!

O’Neill would be a classic example of one who has been to the Dark Side and back. He clearly knew the Shadow and the Shadow knew him! As Edmund suggests from the bow sprint, “…As it is I will always be a stranger who never feels at home, who does not really want and is not really wanted, who can never belong, who must always be a little in love with death.” O’Neill was a long distance ocean swimmer and purportedly once confided in another that his secret wish was to chase the moon beam out across the ocean and get so far out that he could never get back!


V said...

Beautiful, John.

Erin said...

"O’Neill was a long distance ocean swimmer and purportedly once confided in another that his secret wish was to chase the moon beam out across the ocean and get so far out that he could never get back!"

This is such a powerful statement! Thank you for sharing, Theresa and John.

beths front porch said...

I wonder why I am drawn to such darkness like John is. I always felt that Long Day's Journey was my signature play, the real darkness under the comedic, under the facade. Thanks for sharing. ~Beth

emmapeelDallas said...

I really like this, and I think a lot of us can relate to the idea of swimming out so far we can't get back. I've known of people who've done that, and I have to admit, there have been a couple of times...once when I was swimming/snorkeling in Grand Cayman, and it was so beautiful, a sort of lethargy overtook me, and I began to realize I was letting go of caring whether I returned...needless to say, I roused myself, and swam back to shore, but it's bittersweet, to do that, because you feel you have glimpsed (and lost) something beautiful...and more recently, I was alone in White Sands National Monument, out on the dunes, when I became very aware how easy it would be to become lost...and one becomes a little in love with that idea, always, I think, and I'm very aware of that with O'Neill's words. He was a powerful writer.




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"I was no better than dust, yet you cannot replace me. . . Take the soft dust in your hand--does it stir: does it sing? Has it lips and a heart? Does it open its eyes to the sun? Does it run, does it dream, does it burn with a secret, or tremble In terror of death? Or ache with tremendous decisions?. . ." --Conrad Aiken


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The Secret of Hurricanes : That article in the Waterville Scout said it was Shake- spearean, all that fatalism that guides the Kennedys' lives. The likelihood of untimely death. Recently, another one died in his prime, John-John in an airplane. Not long before that, Bobby's boy. While playing football at high speeds on snow skis. Those Kennedys take some crazy chances. I prefer my own easy ways. Which isn't to say my life hasn't been Shake-spearean. By the time I was sixteen, my life was like the darkened stage at the end of Hamlet or Macbeth. All littered with corpses and treachery.

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