Thursday, October 27, 2011

“Nothing gold can stay”

“Nothing gold can stay”
-Robert Frost
…or as my brother says: except gold, that is. Bury it for 5000 years, dump it in salt water… it stays gorgeous. No rust, no grime, no decay. Whatever else you can say about gold, that stuff lasts.
Ok so lately I’ve been distracted by some bright shiny things, and rather than get back to work, I‘ve been thinking about why the world over, most people seem distracted by bright shiny things.
Literally bright and shiny: like gold, like diamonds. Like iPhone screens. Like fire.
I’m wondering (as I avoid work) if it’s some misdirected evolutionary response – like we are born to be attracted to the glint of water, or the juice of a ripe fruit, or eyes or lips. So that it is really: Jewelry as Permanent Glint, as Permanent Ripe Glistening Fruit.
I’m thinking of this also because in my commissioned play, HUNTERS AND THIEVES, the golden fleece makes an entrance.
In the play, the fleece is a worn-out prop from the collection of an old actress who is an exile from her homeland in Central Russia. She once played Medea, who as legend famously has it, butchered her own brother and tossed the body parts into the water so that while Jason and the Argonauts could speed away with her and the fleece in tow, Medea’s father would be forced to pick up the pieces for a proper burial. (On a related note, whatever else we can say about what Medea did, we should at least be able to say: Jason should not have been surprised.)
The golden fleece still shimmers in my mind, all the more so for its weirdness – the skin of a flying golden ram? Kinda awesome, kinda ewwww. It’s hard even to actually picture it. And what would you do with it? Wear it? Sit on it? Have sex on it? Surely never melt it down. It seems perfectly useless; its power must simply be to captivate the mind.
So I sit here distracted and not working; but if I am to be distracted by a shiny bright thing, let it at least be something weird and beautiful, with a lineage.

- David Zellnik

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