Sunday, August 31, 2008


Being Roy Lichtenstein

Last week I dreamt that I was a young Jewish playwrite in NYC putting on a performance of an avant garde science fiction play I'd written, something like JRR Tolkein or Terry Pratchett, in which I was playing Death. We performed in the woods to save money on set building, and we were also filming it. My audience was composed of artistic friends who loved the performance, but at the end I had to tell them that one transformative effect of the story for me was that I now knew that my name is Carl Schroeder, not this Jewish man before them whom they knew as Roy Lichtenstein (not the artist). I was concerned that my friends would think I was joking and continuing the performance as a meta-play. Maybe if they knew I was serious they would think I was crazy. Then I woke up.

1) alarmist reaction: DO YOU THINK I AM CRAZY?

2) clueless reaction: wow that is amazing, am I Roy Lichtenstein? Um, in a past life maybe, like an alternate universe Roy Lichtenstein who writes avant garde science fiction plays?

3) scholarly reaction: Lichtenstein, licht is German for light, stein is stone, but lichten is lightening up, like mist clearing up, or thinning fog. The clarifying stone? The rock that shines light. Roy, French roi? King? I am the king of the clarifying stones?

4) mystical response: There's a gnome involved.

5) pragmatic response: I'm doing something with plays and films that's like the way Roy re-presented comic books to elevate them into art.

6) personal conclusion: I am recombining elements of pop culture myths and movies into essays, reviews, stories, and dreams in a way that can create a different artform, one that awakens the reader into the lucidity by decoding the archetypes. My role is like Death, to be a guide into the afterlife.

7) conclusion: let's write some of this down. Oh look, I just did. Oh wow, instant manifestation by way of self-awareness!

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