New Writing


Lily James

High Drama in Fabulous Toledo

Every child born into Western Civilization must repeat its history as he becomes a man. Jay is a man, and therefore, he has repeated the history of Western Civilization. At the age of six months, Jay recognized himself as an individual, and lost his innate connection with the collective universe, with Gaia, with the folkloric consciousness, with the Oversoul, and all that horseshit with which innocents and civilizations are born. Moving thus and so straightfoward from the folk into the self, as did the ancients move from public into private life, constructing boundaries, experiencing life as a single being, he developed subsequent unique connections with particular other human beings, these being our mother and our father. He invented and mastered a system of signs and symbols common to the larger group of his community. He learned to write. And read. Learned a counting structure, and simple math. He experienced at first local and then increasingly wide circles of travel.

Around the age of six he shifted from the Ptolemic conception of the solar system to the Galilean. That is, he came to understand that the universe didn't revolve around him, goddammit, that there was a great big Milky Way out there, with lots of stars, and that his planet body was just one of several, revolving around one of many, revolving around ten-thousand billion of same and different, and he was very small. I like to pretend that the birth of myself had some influence on this paradigm shift, but I digress. The forgotten and dark ages of eight, nine, and ten were followed by the enlightenment and romanticism of the pre-teen years. At this time Jay moved from the feudal system of the patriarchal family into the larger and more exciting world of the high-school work force, and he learned to operate heavy machinery for a small wage. The industrial revolution--do you see? Soon after this, he made his first solo flight. Following this there were several wars. Internal hierarchies were established. He realized he could kill himself. He refrained from doing it.


Lily James read at SPT in October 2001. High Drama is published by FC2.