Since doranne died, Justin B. Wright, comedy consultant, has been telling the same two stories about her over and over, and that’s a sign he ought to write them down.
doranne preferred to leave both her first and last names in all lowercase. This isn’t one of the stories, but you ought to know in case you start suspecting Justin of laziness in the area of SHIFTING… or would that be SHIFTLESSNESS?
Justin suspects that doranne started it in homage to e.e. cummings, but he can’t remember any reason she gave. In graphoanalysis (a hobby of Justin’s) it would indicate issues of low self-esteem, but since doranne lived in a kind of bizzaro-world, a wonderful carnival mirror-world (if that feels kinder), Justin also suspects doranne used the lower-case to say, “Look at how I’ve become ego-less!” Consider how many people she would have had to correct who simply used the standard formula of proper nouns require capital letters to indicate respect.
Justin suspects he did not use the secretly respectful and more intimate lower-case when writing her name on official college documents such as Individual Learning Contracts and Evaluations.
Several years into their association, Justin noticed that doranne also wanted certain phonetic accent marks to be used with her name as well, like the flat line over the ‘o’ and the circumflex (hat) over the ‘a’. This meant, for the technologically challenged apprentice, writing in the marks by hand on posters/ playbills etc.
Justin will skip the accents in this blog. You can write them on your screen if you like.
Here’s the two stories, followed by a poem by e.e. cummings.
1. “I was getting stressed about my 20th reunion party, and I had taken up smoking cloves again. I got the e-mail that doranne had died from lung cancer, and I remembered that she had smoked cloves many many years ago. She told me that when her lungs started to bleed she gave them up. All the time I knew her she had been a health-nut. She danced. She did yoga. She ate healthy things and drank tea. She meditated. The message it sent me was: YOU CAN’T QUIT! I smoked the rest of that pack in her honor.”
2. “doranne was my advisor during my final quarter at Evergreen when I studied clowning. At the final performance, she was nowhere to be found. I asked her about it, and she said, “I’m afraid of clowns.” I thought, “That would have been nice to know 10 weeks ago when I was picking an advisor!” “However, we had been spending more and more time together over the course of two years, as I took every butoh module and leisure ed. offering, appeared in every Kagami performance, and arranged for video documentation of same. She was my teacher.
“During final preparations for one performance, she let us know what to wear. She said, “White button-up shirts and (looking at me) no polka-dots!” “Since I didn’t own a polka-dot shirt, I figured I was fine. The thought hadn’t crossed my mind. However, at the free box I found… a polka-dot button-up shirt! All I could remember was ‘costume-doranne’s instructions to me-polka-dots’, so I took it.
“I wore it to the performance, and you should have seen the look on her face! Luckily, I had a white T-shirt on underneath it, or I might have been cut from the show and troupe right then! That polka-dot shirt became my clown shirt. It has powerful magic.”
In conclusion, here’s a poem Justin sang during a jam session in Mod 317-A from around that same time. (emphasis added)
‘O sweet spontaneous’
O sweet spontaneous
earth how often have
the doting fingers of
purient philosophers pinched
thee, has the naughty thumb
of science prodded
thy beauty .how
often have religions taken
thee upon their scraggy knees
buffeting thee that thou mightest conceive
gods (but true
to the incomparable
couch of death thy
rhythmic lover thou answerest
them only with spring) — e. e. cummings