At seventeen, I read a book. Nothing before, or after, has had such a profound effect on my life (reading wise, that is). My head swam for hours after I read it, completely overpowering sleep or any other thought but the puzzles, the knots, the twisting and turnings of logic into the illogical, the pretenses and hurts we put on ourselves and one another.
Yes, I’ve read books that have inspired me, caused me to think, have altered the way I lead drama and storytelling programs (see yesterday’s post: and then, you act), have justified various things in my life, or the book that started me on the path to be a voracious reader (that’s a post to come).
1: They are playing a game. They are playing at not playing a game. If I show them I see they are, I shall break the rules and they will punish me. I must play their game, of not seeing, I see the game.
That’s the first page in it’s entirety. The book is only 90 pages long, but in it’s brevity it is highly complex as the read continues. As stated by James Gordon in his NY Times books review: “To grasp this dense and difficult book one must be willing to follow Laing in his spirals of descent. If Knots is to yield, one must yield to the knots. ”
I remember finding the book in poetry, going through my poetry/existentialist reading period,and I was looking for something new. I read the back cover (quote above), flipped through it, and paid the $1.65 for it. Yes, if you click on the link above, it’ll take you to Amazon US, where a hardcover reprinting is selling for $235.00. Go check your local library. $235.00???? Wonder what my beat up, often read, paperback copy is worth?
So..in my room, in my upholstered rocking chair (gift from an uncle), door closed, I read the book. And read it again. And my head went kablooey. So many things that swam by me in life, that I was trying to make sense of, kind of clicked in. I knew I was “offbeat”, knew I wasn’t good at playing the games (still not that great at it: just tell me like it is, period), and this book..this 90 page hump of a read, blew me away.
I feel that this book helped me to see that my non-linear thinking was not as out there as I thought it was. It has, through my aging (never growing up!) to have found it’s way for me to find depths in communications and associations, not always taking things at face value, and most likely is why I found such a connection with improvisation, in both theater and storytelling.
At 17, I read a book. Twice in one night. After the second reading, and when my mind finally slowed down enough, I wrote:
I am Stuart Nager. Some people know me as Stuart Nager. There are those who can’t acknowledge that I am Stuart Nager. To them, I may not be Stuart Nager. Then…who am I?
Who are YOU?