Motel Chronicles

I really can’t remember the first Sam Shepard play I read.

I do remember seeing him with Jessica Lange in the movie  Frances (which was a heartbreaking film).  Of course, he has been in several movies (The Right Stuff comes to mind).

A movie I could see over and over was the one with Sissy Spacek, Jessica Lange, and Diane Keaton, portraying sisters – and Sam Shepherd.  What the heck was the name of it?  Sissy Spacek killed her husband and then tried (unsuccessfully –  to commit suicide).  Of course, my description of the movie sounds macabre – but it was a hilarious movie.

Crimes of the Heart??? Yes, I think that was the name of the movie.

Anyway – back to Sam Shepherd: he does have a very different way of looking at life.  The movie Paris, Texas was based on a Shepherd play and I was haunted by several scenes in that movie for days after I saw it.  It was good – but different.  (In my humble opinion.)

Enough rambling . . .

Some quotes from Motel Chronicles:

Evidently I walk in my sleep.  They find me standing at the end of the hallway by the hibiscus-flowered wallpaper, mumbling to myself.  They say the words are unintelligible and when they shake me I shut up.  They lead me by the shoulder back to bed and I fall asleep and don’t walk again the rest of the night.  When they tell me the next morning how they’d found me like this I’m filled with a kind of warm glow.  My spine buzzes.  I smile uncontrollably and my Dad says:  “It’s not funny.”  But he has a smile too when he says it and that makes me smile even more uncontrollably.

One night I walked into the bathroom in my sleep and climbed into the empty white tub.  They found me asleep in there on my side.  Their reaction to this was more severe than when they’d found me at the end of the hallways.  A slightly worried tone crept into their voices.  For some reason they felt climbing into the bathtub was too bizarre.  A little crazy maybe.  Even though (when I was much younger) my mother had often bedded me down in bathtubs all over Idaho while my Dad was away in the Air Force dropping bombs on Italy and there was only one narrow bed in the motels.

I don’t know why my imaginings of these nightly sojourns were so compelling to me but I began to look forward to the morning explanations by my parents of where they’d found me the night before.  Where had I traveled?  Would they have found me on the ceiling this time?  Curled up inside the fireplace.  I couldn’t stand the fact that I was missing out on these unconscious encounters so I invented a brave scheme:   I would pretend I was sleep-walking.  I would keep my eyes closed tightly and sort of stumble down the hallway, bumping into walls, breathing deeply and maybe make a little low sound so they’d be sure to hear me.  It took me hours to work up enough guts to follow through with this plan because I knew if I failed they’d probably think all the other times had been faked and there’d be no way of telling what their reaction would be to that.


About hopeseguin

Who am I? I'm still discovering just who I am, I suppose. A. Powell Davis writes that "Life is just a chance to grow a soul."

Posted on December 13, 2009, in Books and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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