Notes of a Scribbler

Is this a dagger I see before me?

Posted in Shakespeare by sputnitsa on February 11, 2014

Let’s be Frank, since we can’t be Shirley.  Let’s talk Brutus. Shakespeare’s Brutus.

Because a prank was played on me due to my strong feelings on the matter. :)

Brutus. This is a guy who whinges and whines about how he HAD to do the noble thing and kill Caesar, a man who trusted him and protected him through dark times. And oh, how Brutus suffers the slings and arrows of outrageous guilt. Okay.

But I’m sorry, I don’t buy it.  The guilt, yes, but Brutus’s guilt isn’t about doing the noble thing. It’s about the ignoble reason.

Think about it.  Put yourself in the man’s place. In a toga with clean cotton knickers.

You’re hanging around, being Brutus.  And suddenly you’re let in on this conspiracy at the last moment. About 40 senators are going to kill Caesar, do you want in?

Now ask yourself. What’s going on here?

If Brutus says no, he won’t help them–Caesar still dies. And when it comes to divvying up the wealth, the honor, the power, Brutus is left out. Because he didn’t work that stab. More than that. If Brutus says no, his loyalty is in question. He could lose his life.

Now. If Brutus says yes, he’ll kill Caesar with them–he saves his life, his land, his power. And Caesar still dies.

Both ways, Caesar dies. So did Brutus kill Caesar for reasons of honor? Or to protect himself.

Seriously. I cannot esteem murder for the sake of self-preservation–even if I can understand it. But don’t ask me to act like Brutus was noble for doing that. He was saving his hide.

Not even Shakespeare can convince me otherwise, and not even feeling Brutus’s pain can change that.

And apparently I can talk about this at length, and yes, I may have forced a bunch of students to re-enact Caesar’s death so that I could make my point. I may have also made Caesar stand again because I (Brutus) hadn’t yet killed him.

So apparently the students found this funny. Apparently.

Because one day, after coincidentally going to see the play, I come into my office to see this:

Brutus Got Yo' Back

Brutus Got Yo’ Back


Posted in writing update by sputnitsa on January 17, 2014

Accidental hiatus, but I’m back.  Having a blast finishing the seventh draft of a new work, and taking notes for the next two writing projects.

Life is magic!


Photo: The gorgeous gardens of the Cathedral of St John the Divine.


Tagged with:

The House of Judgement, a poem in prose–by Oscar Wilde

Posted in Uncategorized by sputnitsa on May 30, 2013

The House of Judgement, by Oscar Wilde

And there was silence in the House of Judgment, and the Man came naked before God.

And God opened the Book of the Life of the Man.

And God said to the Man, ‘Thy life hath been evil, and thou hast shown cruelty to those who were in need of succour, and to those who lacked help thou hast been bitter and hard of heart. The poor called to thee and thou didst not hearken, and thine ears were closed to the cry of My afflicted. The inheritance of the fatherless thou didst take unto thyself, and thou didst send the foxes into the vineyard of thy neighbour’s field. Thou didst take the bread of the children and give it to the dogs to eat, and My lepers who lived in the marshes, and were at peace and praised Me, thou didst drive forth on to the highways, and on Mine earth out of which I made thee thou didst spill innocent blood.’

And the Man made answer and said, ‘Even so did I.’

And again God opened the Book of the Life of the Man.

And God said to the Man, ‘Thy life hath been evil, and the Beauty I have shown thou hast sought for, and the Good I have hidden thou didst pass by. The walls of thy chamber were painted with images, and from the bed of thine abominations thou didst rise up to the sound of flutes. Thou didst build seven altars to the sins I have suffered, and didst eat of the thing that may not be eaten, and the purple of thy raiment was broidered with the three signs of shame. Thine idols were neither of gold nor of silver that endure, but of flesh that dieth. Thou didst stain their hair with perfumes and put pomegranates in their hands. Thou didst stain their feet with saffron and spread carpets before them. With antimony thou didst stain their eyelids and their bodies thou didst smear with myrrh. Thou didst bow thyself to the ground before them, and the thrones of thine idols were set in the sun. Thou didst show to the sun thy shame and to the moon thy madness.’

And the Man made answer and said, ‘Even so did I.’

And a third time God opened the Book of the Life of the Man.

And God said to the Man, ‘Evil hath been thy life, and with evil didst thou requite good, and with wrongdoing kindness. The hands that fed thee thou didst wound, and the breasts that gave thee suck thou didst despise. He who came to thee with water went away thirsting, and the outlawed men who hid thee in their tents at night thou didst betray before dawn. Thine enemy who spared thee thou didst snare in an ambush, and the friend who walked with thee thou didst sell for a price, and to those who brought thee Love thou didst ever give Lust in thy turn.’

And the Man made answer and said, ‘Even so did I.’

And God closed the Book of the Life of the Man, and said, ‘Surely I will send thee into Hell. Even into Hell will I send thee.’

And the Man cried out, ‘Thou canst not.’

And God said to the Man, ‘Wherefore can I not send thee to Hell, and for what reason?’

‘Because in Hell have I always lived,’ answered the Man.

And there was silence in the House of Judgment.

And after a space God spake, and said to the Man, ‘Seeing that I may not send thee into Hell, surely I will send thee unto Heaven. Even unto Heaven will I send thee.’

And the Man cried out, ‘Thou canst not.’

And God said to the Man, ‘Wherefore can I not send thee unto Heaven, and for what reason?’

‘Because never, and in no place, have I been able to imagine it,’ answered the Man.

And there was silence in the House of Judgment.

inside the Cathedral of St John the Divine, NYC

inside the Cathedral of St John the Divine, NYC

What’s that you say? My city’s beautiful? Why yes, it is.

Posted in Uncategorized by sputnitsa on October 12, 2012


Why do I feel so proprietary about the Met?  As if it’s mine?  As if New York is mine, as if this moment of my life in New York IS life in New York in general, or my life in general?

Well, I shall enjoy this bliss while it lasts, and try to remember it’s only a moment.  A precious, beautiful, ephemeral moment.  And that time rushes and only seems to lull.

Central Park from the tranquil Temple of Dendur

I saw an arcade with its glass torn out and with the garden whispering in

Posted in New York by sputnitsa on October 12, 2012

So obviously I went in.

a little sojourn before lunch, searching for a grave and caught up in a courtyard of ruin and bloom…

Fragments from Celan and Adonis

Posted in poetry by sputnitsa on September 26, 2012

I’ve been reading poetry recently.  Here are some beautiful moments that two poets have brought us.


The forest gave you a necklace of hands. So dead you walk the rope.

~ Paul Celan (line from Tallow Lamp)

Your hands full of hours, you came to me–and I said:
Your hair is not brown.
So you lifted it lightly on to the scales of grief; it weighed more
than I…

~ Paul Celan (fragment from Your hands full of hours)

Black milk of daybreak we drink it at sundown
we drink it at noon in the morning we drink it at night
we drink and we drink it
we dig a grave in the breezes there one lies unconfined
A man lives in the house he plays with serpents he writes
he writes when dusk falls to Germany your golden hair
he writes it and steps out of doors and the stars are flashing he
whistles his pack out
he whistles his Jews out in earth has them dig for a grave
he commands us strike up for the dance

~ Paul Celan (fragment from Death Fugue)


Life produces death, which is its essence.

~ Adonis (line from Explanations)

How can I call what is between us a past?

“What is between us is not a story
not a human apple or a jinn’s
not a sign of a season
or a place
not anything that could be historicized”       This is
what the vicissitudes inside us say

How can I say then that our love
has been taken by the wrinkled hands of time

~ Adonis (How can I call what is between us a past; from Beginnings of the Body, Ends of the Sea)

He holds the plow to his chest,
clouds and rain in his palms.
His plow opens doors
toward a richer possibility.
He scatters dawn on his field
and gives it meaning.

~ Adonis (fragment from Rains)

Pond with Ducks, Central Park

Tagged with: , ,

The world is magic

Posted in Uncategorized by sputnitsa on September 23, 2012

after a good writing morning!!!


Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, THE in place to go when you’re dead. In case you were wondering. ;-) Also great for picnics should you be Victorian or in the mood.

A terrifying thought

Posted in writing by sputnitsa on July 20, 2012

Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.  ~ Picasso


Tagged with:

Writing takes many matches

Posted in writing by sputnitsa on July 16, 2012

You are the one who writes and the one who is written.  ~ Edmond Jabès

Tagged with:


Posted in Uncategorized by sputnitsa on July 10, 2012

So I’m in the pharmacy when it happens.  A woman gets fed up with waiting in line, and she grabs her kid by the hand and walks out.  The child resists, stomps, yells.

“Stop shouting, Nemesis!” she shouts.

Nemesis.  I kid you not.

Not a common boy’s name, I don’t imagine.  Surely I misheard?  Surely it was something more staid, more done.  Something like… Pegasus?

The wild wonders of queuing.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 25 other followers