Hello dear readers! I’m blogging for every day in June about Slam, a play set near Dubuque, Iowa, about a woman in her early thirties who still believes her plans might work out, with the right adjustments. Here’s the reflections for today.
Why is this play so Iowa?
Better question: why is this play my Iowa?
I’ll be honest with you: I never spent any appreciable time on a farm. My great Aunt Katie had a few acres with not much more than a garden and a small chicken coop. At one point we went to her house and got a little tour. That’s the sum total of my agricultural experience, aside from one summer de-tasseling corn, which is a hugely commercial enterprise and out of context here.
Most of my adulthood has been spent in New York City, living in Brooklyn and frowning on the subway.
So, really? You’re right: I’m off base here, I have no connection.
But, as Slam would say:
Were you ever fucking listening?
The connection is the the clipped, complete, accusatory sentences that issue from the Lamb family. The connection is the quiet observations made by Jonah, a young man firmly rooted to who he is. The connection is Spoon’s broad smile and grand schemes, all just this side of saving the day as well as his pocket book.
The connection is Slam’s vitriol: her arms crossed, her body gone to seed. Slam has hurled away the mantel of what she’s aspired to, but there’s nothing to replace it except failure and, alas, an unwanted pregnancy.
All this against highways established during the Eisenhower years, later perfected and then connected by huge box malls. Today’s Iowa is what I know about myself: quick to adopt a self-mythology that presupposes what others think in order to buffer all prejudices, disappointments, and fears.
My Iowa is about a smile and laugh, followed closely by a biting quip.
Herein a defensive collage, answering a question no one’s asked me. That too is very Midwest: submit your own conclusions before anyone can identify what’s wrong and get you.