Monday, June 4, 2018

Spy of the First Person

Impermanence, 2018

I didn't even know it had been published. It was a library find. I don't think there's a better way to find a book than browsing.

I'm still in the trance this book, Sam Shepard's final work, Spy of the First Person, put me in. I can only describe this book as what appears to be an honest documentation of a creative mind making its final transition from here to wherever it is we go when we leave this place.

Although there is nothing about this slim book, with its strange dreamlike text surrounded by ample white space, that would classify it as a "page turner," it has a sense of urgency that once I'd picked it up would not let me put it down. It was much more like standing before Shepard in his rocking chair on his front porch and hearing him speak his final words than what I was actually doing, reading a book. I was not at all surprised to learn Patti Smith assisted Shepard in editing the manuscript.

"... I got to the hedge which was neither a camellia hedge or a hydrangea or anything like that. It was unidentifiable. There were white flowers coming out of it but I didn't quite know what they were. I can make him out through the white flowers, through the hedge. But I wasn't quite sure. I could make something out through there, but I wasn't sure what. Oh never mind, I'll figure it out later. That's the thing about later. You don't know what's coming up. You don't know how all the loose ends are going to gather together. Something for sure is going to happen but you don't know what it is. For instanceI'm outside, for instance. Out here with the birds and the bugs. Not exactly outside, but close enough. Just across the way. It's never like it was. The clouds. The big sky. The flowers. The chirping."

I'm now looking at everything I see through the lens of impermanence. The back cover categorizes the book as fiction, but it felt very real to me.