Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

13 November 2005

Homework for the Non-student

Last Tango in Paris has been sitting at my house since July the 6th. It's been holding up the Netflix queue, really. The reason it's been at my house is because I ordered it even though I didn't really want to watch it. I was talking about this with a friend just this week. We set ourselves these assignments that we don't really want to complete. I hear myself saying "I don't feel like reading" and the reason I don't want to read is that I'm staring at the complete works of Tennessee Williams. I mean no wonder I don't want to read. It all seems so huge and unachievable. And I've set this task for myself. It's not like it's an assignment for school; it's an assignment for myself. I ought to read the complete works of Tennesse Williams. I ought to watch Bernardo Bertolucci's Last Tango in Paris. We forget--I forget--that there isn't anything that I necessarily ought to do. I don't have to do anything I don't want to do. I'm an adult for chrissakes and if I don't feel like reading Jerzy Grotowski's Towards a Poor Theatre, I really don't have any obligation to do so.
I have to teach myself to stop setting enormous, impossible goals for myself. The small goals are hard enough, and my life can be full and rich even if I never see Jack Lemmon's performance in Mister Roberts. It won't kill me to do something I actually want to do.

Who knows? I may even want to go back to reading if I start on a fun book instead of my usual choice of a highbrow monstrosity.
This week: Richard Greeberg's The Dazzle.