Exits Stage Left (reaches for a fishing pole)

The Seagull

Trigorin….. Here I am together with you, I’m excited, and yet I can’t forget for a moment that an unfinished story is hanging over my head. I glance at that cloud, it looks like a piano. I think to myself mention in some story that cloud, it looks like a piano. There’s a scent of heliotrope. I rush to make a mental note: cloying smell, widows flower, use in describing a summer’s evening. I catch my every sentence, every word-yours too- and rush to lock them up in my literary storehouse-maybe they’ll come in handy! When I am done working, I run off to the theater or go fishing.  If only I could relax, forget myself, but nothing doing! A cannonball starts rolling around in my head-a new subject! It drives me to my desk-hurry, write, keep on writing. And it’s always like that. I can’t escape myself. I feel like a parasite feeding on my own life.


Chekhov, The Seagull


As I am in a larval stage, the title is not a specific stage instruction from this moment in the Seagull.

It was a small descriptive detail I had to identify and learn from as a class exercise in close reading. I can’t remember the specific play and have no particular need to return to it.

I also don’t have the time or inclination at the moment to read the Seagull and see if it is applicable to this specific text.

In the text I was using the only mention of fishing was in the stage direction. The script itself suggested a not dissimilar form of cannonball mind. That suggests a specific way of dealing with how the character sounds but it also charts potential movement.

Fishing, suggests a very different potential, when it comes to movement and the mental and emotional qualities that form as a result of engaging in this activity.

You could suggest in terms of movement it presents a potential conflict or tension and suggests emotional qualities the character possesses are not simply to be found on the surface of the text but buried within it.

I have no idea if it is at work here, but as a creature of low cunning and with a limited range of tricks. It looks like a question to ask of the text?

Should the  text be read as a ‘submerged’ discussion of both style and technique?




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