Chuck A. Stetson

Chuck A. Stetson
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Connecticut,
Birthday
October 13
Bio
she who knows knows and loves me — i am a happy man.

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Salon.com
JUNE 1, 2009 8:17AM

Suicide's Auditions

Rate: 139 Flag

Suicide is a casting director seeking actors for a one-act play. The search is advertised in depression’s darkness. Many showcase their talent within the darkness, ignoring a persistent stage fright, sometimes misinterpreted as happiness, as they try to convince Hopelessness, the play’s author, that they understand the play’s essence—death.

One actor in particular stands out. She emotes pain; her agony defines a perfection that only Suicide feels will work well in interpretation of the images-9play. Suicide confers with Hopelessness, but the play requires a strenuous methodology that few are capable of. Hopelessness insists on authenticity of emotions. Suicide reassures Hopelessness that this actor is capable of transcending all suspicion of doubt. Suicide is familiar with this actor’s work. She’s played bit parts in tragedy, excelling in various incarnates of despair, from prostitution to drug addiction. Suicide suggests that maybe she could leap to her demise, but Hopelessness doesn’t feel her pain; the play’s denouement must deliver moroseness to the audience, leaving ambiguity to challenge all thought. This actor has an uncertainty about her that only Hopelessness recognizes. Her leap into the abyss would be anti-climatic—predictable. So the auditions continue.

Another actor steps forward into the darkness. He’s young; his confidence in delivering anguish pleases Hopelessness. Suicide doesn’t feel the images-2conflict. The young actor again exposes his wrists and cries on cue. His tears mix with blood; his coldness warms the theater. Suicide feels the razor and blood are too contrived—stereotypical to the point of boredom. Hopelessness likes the idea of blood, but relents. The auditions continue.

Hopelessness is agitated. The play, as written, has many layers—different levels of emotion that need be already mastered, not learned in rehearsals.images-3 Suicide remains indifferent to Hopelessness. Other actors are waiting to audition. If needed, Hopelessness can rewrite the final act. Perhaps asphyxiation or a toxic overdose is possible within the play’s context. Hopelessness ponders both. Asphyxiation is poetic but boring. Overdosing is overdone. There has to be an actor that can grasp the darkness, make sense of the storm that never abates. The play is not just about depression; its metaphor probes a fog that consumes the daylight encouraging nothingness to become everything. Suicide, hating deep thought, ignores Hopelessness. Another actor is called into the darkness.

This actor’s androgyny attracts Suicide. Masculinity morphs into femininity and back again. Hopelessness is intrigued. The conflict of gender is enticing. Perhaps being lost within identity improves tension, captivating an audience’s attention with confusion. A rope falls from the catwalk lassoing the androgynous actor’s neck. The hanging is horrific: a bulging neck, a swollen protruding tongue, profuse twitching, a snap of the neck, blood, shit, piss and semen dripping down the androgynous actor’s legs, puddling on the stage. Suicide is pleased and calls for a spotlight. Hopelessness runs on to the stage delirious.

The semen reveals the actor’s gender or so it seems. The actor offers a hermaphroditic solution to the semen; Hopelessness counters with transgender confusion. Another actor takes to the stage unimpressed. kiss1Suicide recognizes the internal rage that glows from the actor’s eyes. She’s female; she leaves not doubt as to sexual orientation; her lover follows her to the stage. She kisses the actor hard on the lips; their tears attract Hopelessness.

The audition catches Suicide by surprise. The two lovers, whose marriage was denied by a supporting cast of ignorance and politics, put twin revolvers to their mouths and deliver a simultaneous blood spattering coup de grace. Suicide gives a standing ovation.

Hopelessness retreats back into the artistic gloom of doubt, questioning politically motivated reaction—its overtones are pronounced. Suicide disagrees, reminding Hopelessness that reaction saturated with the blood of intolerance could call many to the theater—to the stage. The play’s run would forever be ongoing, changing as despair mingles with instability of images-5thought. Hopelessness’ demurral is muted as another actor steps forward in the darkness. Suicide recognizes the actor and orders Hopelessness to close the auditions as she begins to sing her siren’s song of desperate faith. But the actor’s haunting voice intrigues Hopelessness. The audition is uninterrupted. Suicide seethes. Suicide decries the actor. Hopelessness continues to listen, immersed within a battle of uncertainty. Violins massage the melody. Suicide hates the intrinsic beauty of complexity—hidden messages that offer a resolution other than death.

girl1243828774Hopelessness embraces the confusion within the theater. Depression’s darkness dissipates. Suicide continues to argue that audiences are clamoring for self-destruction, insisting human behavior revels in hopeless ambiguity. The play needs to be staged. Lives need to be lost. Hopelessness answers with a slight smile, assuming the identity of Hope.

 


Auditions are cancelled.

 

 

 

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Mr. Mustard. This is eloquent, piercing, and profound. I have heard the Siren's call of suicide many times and have been fortunate to have had reasons to lash myself to the mast.
Thank you for writing on this topic. And thanks to the allusions to the reasons that hopelessness might set in.
This enters the league of some of the most exquisite writing I have ever read on OS. You tackle this difficult topic (that is even more difficult to comprehend for those that are left behind) with such powerful insight but delicate heart and hands. What you have written here is a masterpiece. Ironically, I could actually see this as a play. It is THAT good.
Lorraine
Thank you so very much. I am so happy you are here today to read this post.
cartouche
your comment makes my day in more ways than you ever would know.
You and I have apparently been to the same auditions. I'm so happy we didn't get a callback. Well done, Chuck.
Chuck, I think is among your best work here. For all who ask how can one take their own life, you provide a glimpse at how some might contemplate it. Rated.
This is amazing, well-written, and I am sure it will touch many. You are such a gift to our world. I am always startled when I am researching grant statistics at the high percentage of teens that admit to making a suicide plan -usually somewhere over 25% or higher. This is a tough topic to tackle and you did it with much grace.
This is going into Digg and Reddit and I am begging you all to utilize these tools for this piece. It deserves a wide audience.
Cartouche is right. This is superb and it is a play.
My friend you are an amazing writer. Wonderful metaphor for anyone who ever even had the thought cross their mind. You know I struggle with depression and PTSD but I keep fighting the good fight and that's all one can do.
I'm glad this is not a memoir and I'm glad you're happy.
rated
Nancy
I'm so glad too... I still wear my props on my wrist.
OE thank you... this subject is often ignored in an open forum.
Melissa
disregarding my own experiences... I've seen the end result of this too many times. Thank you
Greg
I read your post and it reminded me of how fragile we all are. Life is precious... you're a good friend!
Putting suicide in a spotlight that anyone who's been there would know instantly, and painfully. Excellent. I agree. this could be a play.
You have left me speechless. This is eloquent, painful, frightening, and brilliant. I live for hope, for without it I would be an actor in your play. Your repertoire is infinite it seems. Even when you write about demise, it is beautiful. You truly have a gift and I am thankful to be on the receiving end.
Mr. Mustard- I cannot put into mere words the impact this had on my being! It is some of the most profound and powerful writing that I have ever read, anywhere! Unbelievable...I was at those auditions!
Rated
MM- Extraordinary insight into the internal raging of the desperate. I too have witnessed the outer trappings of this insulated mental torture far too often, as a mental health professional and on a personal level.
"...its metaphor probes a fog that consumes the daylight encouraging nothingness to become everything." Magnificent illumination of the darkest recesses of the human spirit...
Do write the script!
--rated--
What an original piece of writing. I agree with Cartouche; this would make a provocative play. Excellent work.
I keep coming back to read the comments. You have truly moved people with this beautiful piece. I had to take a break, have a miniature breakdown, and come back to it. Whew! Powerful!
Lois
no breakdowns today. thank you for your kindness. you are truly special.
Cartouche give some of the most moving critiques ever. So I'll just do this:

What Cartouche said!!!!!

If there's ever a "Best of OS", This should be in there.
My goodness...you've outdone yourself. This is, well...if I say masterpiece, will it sound over-the-top? Honestly, its profound, chilling and biting.

As a person of the theater, I had a desire to put this on stage and turn it into a script. Sort of like No Exit or Waiting for Godot style. It could be a play.

Hopelessness. To me, the most insipid and dangerous character.

I had some trouble understanding the sexual orientation passage and how it "plays a part." Perhaps I need to read again.
This was my first read of the day. I could barely get through it, except your writing was so exquisite I was compelled to, in spite of the horror it brought center stage. Twenty-five years past and back in an instant.

rated
This Post has left me lost for words.
Shades of Edgar Allen Poe.
Written with soul.
Tapping my foot and waiting for Kerry and Thomas to show up and get this on the cover where it belongs......
And, how many times do I have to remind people about Digg and Reddit??? Like, HELLO!!!!??? (Yes, I'm shouting). Sue me.
What a cast of characters, eh, MM? This is just... well, briliant. Yet another observational layer peeled away to reveal the complexity with which you think... and compassionately speak to heal what underlying, ails.

You do know you are THAT good, don't you? You are.

and I agree. This would make a phenonmenal play. I actually see it already.

Bravo!
Proving (yet again) what I said to you several days ago.

Rated for excellence.
oops... typos.. lol :)
I am speechless. I too could see this clearly as a play. Incredible.
Having spent much time in this audition space, I can only say thank you. It bears stating that 30% of all suicides are committed by LGBT youth and young men with more "feminine gender role characteristics" are most at risk. I would love to see it performed. Of course, your play speaks to this in a universal way, and much more eloquently. My heart was already aching today; this piece (it is far more than a post), freed the tears. Rated and reddited.
I will not let up. I will bump this all day long.
Ah yes, Mr. Mustard. You nailed it. This is an exquisite description of this lonely, desperate battle.

When you say this, "Suicide hates the intrinsic beauty of complexity," I think it could be said that rather than hating it, Suicide is blinded to it by its single-minded ambition to convince the actor that its way is the only way.

Beautiful, beautiful stuff. Thank you.
I echo what has already been said... exquisite.
Ed's?

(thumbified, dugg, reddddditted, stumblefied and a note passed to the kid next to me for good measure.)
Oh brother - and I do mean brother: you hit it. You hit it exactly. The writing itself is profound and exquisite; the play is intense - one wants to look away, and cannot, and dare not; the theme is why I call you brother. I have now read it three times - each time it speaks. This piece expresses a darkness and a hope with which I am all too familiar. Like a stake through the heart of a vampire, you nailed it. Damn. It takes my breath away.
Bumpety bump (I won't quit either).
@Boanerges1: Thank you and good on you. I'm relentless, you know.
WOW! Incredible writing. Haunting, heart piercing, chilling.
Thank you. Thank you for writing this. Thank you for sharing this.

In awe.
This is brilliant, Mr. Mustard.

It is my life's calling to end the diagnosis, Gender Identity Disorder. I am not disordered, I am what I am. And there was a time in my life when I was in this play.

Brava.
Powerful, yes. Stageworthy, absolutely. I'm with Beth in confusion as to the applicability of the sexual orientation bit and the thinly veiled reference to Prop 8, but this is great work all around. Kudos.
Are y'all getting sick of me showing up and bumping this post? I've got ALL day to do it. And I will.
I know you're relentless, Cartouche. So am I.

And Robin? Keep tellin' them to get stuffed.
Beautiful and profound. I will need to re-read it several times to unpeel more layers but will need to get up the strength of mind to do so. Lord knows what strength of mind it took to write this.
Powerful stuff, Mr. Mustard.
Now getting ready to launch Plan B. I hate it when that happens.
Wow. I'm humbled by your eloquence, and your depth. This is an amazing piece of writing that I'm sure I'll come back to again and again.
It's really hard to succeed with an extended metaphor like this, especially one involving a personification, but I think you've done it here. (Lucinda Williams is the daughter of my old poetry professor, Miller Williams, so she comes by it honestly.)
Thank you. Beyond words. A subject
we must look at again and again and again.
Again. Thank you.
This could be your masterpiece......Exquisite in its tender and piercing darkness.....
This is very, very good. I could never have come up with this in a million years!
Cartouche, I am with you!!!! Where are they???? Do they not see that this is a Masterpiece???? Helloooooo!!!!
Cartouche, what's Plan B?
To everyone:
I just got back from an appointment... and I'm overwhelmed that my writing could evoke such a response. I thank you all... my OS family.
And cartouche... you are sunshine that breaks through the fog.
Is anybody else having trouble getting a new post up? I have made seven attempts and when I hit "save draft and preview", the screen comes up empty. Anyone? Bueller?
A post that implores people to come here is Plan B, boanerges1. I'm just having trouble executing it. Curses. Of to try a different browser. Be on the look out. Will report back.
Hells Bells
Lucinda Williams is awesome-- her songs haunts, mystify and cleanse.
Thank you.
Boanerges1
a special thanks goes out to you also.
Very disturbing. And well written.
Lois
i hope many engage in a dialogue on this subject.
i hope to engage in many more dialogues with you.
I'll be bumping through the ratings throughout the day. I'm pretty sure that when one "unrates," then "rates," it shows up in the feed.
Has anyone seen my jaw? It dropped into oblivion.

Mr. M! If you're in a good mood today I'd be fearful of what comes into your head on a bad day! No, I 'm kidding. This was sheer brilliance, a masterpiece. Give us more of this! Wow!
The 1:30 pm bump (EDT)
Plan B has now (finally) gone into action:
http://open.salon.com/blog/cartouche/2009/06/01/if_they_wont_i_will
After Plan B comes Level Orange.
Mr. M - Had to read it again. You bring such light to this dark subject and you do this with elegance and empathy. Loved it more the 2nd time around. No doubt the third will be the charm.

I am with Cartouche and Boanerges1 and all the commenters when I desire to see this on the front page, front and center, and there are no bumps too many for this uniquely created post and your spin on this all too relavant subject. You really do have the makings for a screen play here. No exageration. This is a block buster hit wating for a place to happen. Again, wow! Off to Digg and Reddit!

In the words of Arnold the governator (can't spell his last name):

"I'll be back!"
Maybe this touches those of us who have seriously considered an audition more than others. I rated this hours ago Chuck, but just don't know what I can say. As for EP's and covers, well It took two days for my last post to garner the EP and it never made the cover at all. The recognition may yet come. I'd be proud to pimp it for you.
Yes, "attempting" to rate and then re-rating shows up on the page.
Mr. Mustard: I think you are going to get a ton more comments. Please feel free to remove my "bumps" to make space for more valuable praise. My ONLY intent is to keep this in the face of readers and on the feed. I hope you go viral.
Truly amazing writing, in fewer words that I'd have thought possible. True mastery of the art. Bravo, Bravo!

I agree with Everyone that says it is a play. Period. DO it.

And funny, how annoying and 'insipid' Hopelessness is... and yet, he/she Becomes Home. Something to ponder.

Thank you.
oh, CRAP. Typo. Should be Becomes Hope.

hmm... feelin freaky freudian, anyone?
I seem to be outside the mainstream here, but I found this trite and condescending to anyone who might be struggling with thoughts of suicide.

You make it sound dramatic and difficult. It is neither.

A gentle squeeze on the trigger, a single step from the ledge, the swallowing of a handful of pills. Nothing dramatic nor difficult there.

While your writing may be elegant, your premise certainly is not.
Wayne
Somehow... you never disappoint.
Excellent work. Thank you.
I hope you pursue the play idea.

And damn, but I love Lucinda.
Check you inbox, Mr. M!
Mr Mustard....this is really something. I guess all the EP's are going to abortion doctor murders today.
The Lucinda Williams that I'm listening to right now is the perfect exclamation for this piece... or perhaps the inspiration(?)
mesmerizing
Wow. This was the best piece I've read in a long time. Literate and moving.
Gorgeous and terrifying. A bump before signing off.
Yep! Third time's the charm!
Boy, is Cartouche on a mission! Great job!
Keep the feed going!
Wow! The degree of difficulty here is astounding. And then you accomplish it. Well done Mr. M.
Incredible. Dugg,tweeted, facebooked and RATED.
Amazing. Rated. Onto Digg and Reddit, etc.
whoooooooooooooofaaaaaaa!!!

All Hail the Mustard Man!
Dugg it. Now will have to reread slowly, like reading a drama. This is a fusion piece I can't quite quantify, but shows your originality and understanding of pain.
Nothing to add or say... just wanted to make sure you knew I thought this was well done.

Without the darkness we would never see the stars...
Y'all are saying that you dugg or went to reddit, but the numbers are not reflecting it. PLEASE do it!
I once had an argument with someone who was very upset when depression was put in a similar life category to cancer (which she'd had). "People don't die from depression!" she argued. Uh, really? I just couldn't believe I heard that. But so many otherwise intelligent, educated, sensitive people don't realize what a lethal and pervasive force it is, robbing people of their lives often even before or without suicide.

I also love Lucinda and this piece puts me in mind of another lyric of hers, "You took my joy and I want it back." In the song, she is talking to an ex-lover but she could easily be talking about depression or related states as well. (And who knows, maybe she was.)
Superb on many levels. Your images are searing.
94 comments and 57 rating!!! COVER!!!!!!
I'm back..... my mother read this and said that this was "Shakespeare magnified". How is that for a compliment?
It jumped 3 ratings in the time it took me to post my last comment!!! YES!!
Not having ever seriously contemplated suicide, I've no idea what one goes through during the process. However, as is much in life, the play's the thing.

"All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages."
William Shakespeare


You play your parts well, Chuck.
Well, if they think women who have had to make the choice of abortion have not considered suicide, they are badly mistaken!!!
This is a must script play - please do it. The interplay is gossamer almost. The song was playing in the background and made the post 3D. I'm a bit embarassed to say this post was like opening my head and dumping out the contents this weekend. I love this sincerely. The play. Must do it.
peece,
dj
Jimenace
Wow... I always look forward to the comments you make on my posts and other bloggers works. To think I have reached you on a level some of us so often understand lets me know you are one of the shining lights in the community of OS!
Imagine "bumping" into you and your post again! This is almost becoming fun. I'll keep coming back, don't worry.
What's left to say about this ... I'm just blown away! Incredible, Friend ... just incredible.
oh, mr. m, i'm with the masterpiece people. this is extraordinary. the concept of the auditions is brilliant. i know this drill and you've captured it perfectly. my last attempt, i attached a hose from my muffler and into the car and took a million pills too. i was such a control freak that i had a stungun in my other hand so no one could mug me while i was killing myself. suicide's siren call can be sooo fucking seductive, my friend. love love love and i hope this thing does go viral and gets the freaking EP and cover that it deserves. and, that this turns into a Play!!!!
Theo
your thoughts on this post mean the world to me.
I'm baaaaack! Where are the Diggers and Reddit(ers)?
You, Patnick: I dugg! I redd!
Wow. A truly virtuoso performance that grabbed me by both the heart and the mind and won't let go...

You are an amazing writer.
Done dug it and reddit.
Please stop over and sign the petition!!

http://open.salon.com/blog/middleagedwomanblogging/2009/06/01/petition_to_the_universe_on_mr_mustards_behalf
Fancy bumping into all my OS friends here....
Exquisite and excellent piece Mr. Mustard and it seems written from a place of personal experience...always the most powerful place from which to write. Having attended the unexpected funeral of a friend last summer as a result of suicide, and learning the news last week that an acquaintance of ours for over 10 years killed himself, his wife and his 23 year old son in Boulder last week...suicide is a reality for many. I am thankful that yours was only an audition for what a loss it would be to not have a writer such as yourself in our presence. Thank you. Rated.
marytkelly
thank you for your kind words... and my condolences on the loss of your friend. Too many audition...
I agree this should get more recognition.

However, I have noticed most ep's/covers go more to straight non-fiction or topical news stories. Or dare I say it: fluff

Elegant semi-nonfiction is rarely given space by the editors. This is dark and brooding, my favorite, but we might be tilting at windmills to think OS will change course and begin to recognize more stylized writing.

Nothing against journalistic newsy stuff. A mix would be nice though.
What do we want? an EP!
What are we waiting for? An EP!
Is anyone HOME???????????????
Sylvia Plath just signed the fucking petition!!!!!!
If I'm going to have to hit a bump in the road, it may as well be HERE!
My comment is to send you a resonant echo of all the feedback here. This is writing at its best. rated
This is a rather avant-garde approach to a powerful subject. Incredibly creative.
I totally agree that this piece stands on it's own merit and an EP or cover does not make it better nor worse. I also agree that it seems posts that make the cover are more often than not, political or humorous in nature.

I haven't been here long enough, I guess, to know, if a post makes an EP, does it necessarily make the cover also? If they feel it is too dark for the cover, it still certainly deserves an EP, in my opinion.

I am so thankful to be here at OS among the creme de la creme of writers. So many of you deserve recognition, this is true (and money!!). You all make me want to be a better writer myself, thank you!!
Mr. Mustard. I had to read this in two sittings--the subject matter is too close too home and the raw emotions kept getting blurred through tears. What a courageous post
If our favorite writers do not make the cover or an EP, then perhaps we need a "Reader's Choice" award!!
Any ideas on that?
Athena
thank you for reading this. I understand your tears and wish you peace.
Mr. Mustard: Jon Henner has asked for the lyrics to the song to be posted so he can read them. Would you be so kind to accommodate him so he can get the full experience?
Rated for all around excellence!
cartouche
done... see my message.
Thanks for the heads up Cartouche. Count me in as about the hundredth person who found this moving and poetic. Loved the Lucinda Williams track at the end. Car Wheels on a Gravel Road is one of my all-time favorite CDs.
Fascinating study in writing and reading. Currently there are 12 up and 8 downs on reddit.

As I said dark is my favorite type of writing. However, the subject matter and style that I prefer are not for everyone.

The piece requires thought, it does not do the thinking for you. It isn't written in short bursts that tell you what to think. Its pace is like Jason: relentless, evenly paced, it will not let you get away.

This is my take. Obviously there are those that disagree.
Jay, you just sent chills up my spine making the comparison to Jason!!
All I can say is Wow! This brought tears to my eyes for many reasons. I share the feelings of most who have already commented. Superbly written, touching, timely. Thank you for this.
Excellent. Rated. Bump
Really what can I say that hasn't already been said?
Excellent writing-great job!
rated for brilliance
So familiar as to be painful. Rated
There is no rest for the weary. I'm bumping into you no matter what.
I have been fighting with dark thoughts lately...this is haunting.
Indie Girl, do not fight them alone. Do not!! PM someone if need be, but see a professional. And remember, each day is different.... do not give up hope.
Indie Girl
Dark thoughts are a very creative companion that seeks out pleasure in the destruction of contentment. You aren't alone. You can message me anytime...
I just happened to be in the neighborhood.
I have just a minute before soccer practice and thought I'd join the party - MM, you have always been such a kind soul to me and I hope you know, cover or not, you are reaching out to thousands of people with this.
Just in case you need another bump.
Where's the outrage that the Editors don't listen to us???????????????
EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It's not like M.M. is promoting himself. I felt the same way when I read his piece this morning but I know how fruitless it is to try and convince these guys that there's more to life than Mendelsohn's popcorn flick reviews.

I give this blog 5 Stars and a write in Pulitzer vote. :-D
Love ya M.M.
Greg
You were the first who encouraged others to read my work on OS. My EP and cover is your friendship and all the others who have blown me away today... cartouche and Lois in particular.
Things that go bump in the night also do so in the early evening.
i luv u baby, but I have no idea what you are talkin' about.
every little breeze seems to whisper louise...
bird in the trees, seem to twitter louise....

[!]

oh, that's just a song I hum, often, when whiling away.

hmm-hm-hm-hm-hmmmm
"bump bump pow"

I wonder if we could fill up the side feed by having 10 people comment at once on this post?
Huh. They still haven't got the message. OK, bump, thud, crash, bang, OWWWWDAMMIT, slam. Helllloooo, editors? Anybody in there?
The play may be the thing, but in this case there will be no repeat performance. The very first book written on suicide defined it as "a last desperate attempt to communicate".
I am SO loving the enthusiasm here and I think Jimenace's idea is a great one. Can I find ten people? NOW? I'm in! It's getting dark, we approaching the magic number of 100 but I just love things that go bump in the night!
Having experienced first hand the depth of destruction that is left behind from a loved one taking their life, I have to say this profound piece of writing was difficult to read. Yet I'm glad I did. I don't know that I could actually sit through the play though. Your writing is exquisite.
This is my story, as my single post under this user name reveals. It is the story of my then best friend, Christina, who hung herself in her mother's garage when they took away her child because she was a transsexual. It is the story of other friends who ended their own heartbeats, but only after politics and culture took their lives from them for daring to be who they were.

Many readers will not see beyond the surface of this exquisitely crafted piece, but I and others like me see to its core.

Thank you for writing it, Mr. Mustard. Intended or not, it is a beautiful and haunting tribute to people I have known (and been).

Rated, and adding my voice to those who believe this excellent writing should be on the cover . . . permanently.
Compellingly original, unique and haunting. I found it almost too disturbing to read, it brought back some memories that have been safely locked in a room with the lights out lo these many years.
Bumpity, bobbity, BOO!
Back to bump - this time visibly!
We're looking for four more people to knock this into three digits and nine others to keep this on the front page feed. Anyone? Bueller?
Being a woman of the theater in both reality as well as subjectivity, I appreciate greatly the metaphoric arena you have painted. Suicide is a guest I have never welcomed or entertained, but sadly she seduced my young niece in the 80's. Time has numbed the shock and sadness. But I will always regret never being able to meet the woman she would have been today.

Thanks for the heads up cartouche, and thank you Mr. Mustard for your wrenching and evocative words. I indeed have been exposed to the best that theater can offer - to provoke thoughts and deeply stir feelings. The music is a fitting and intrinsic part of the message.

I propose to our Open Salon editors Thomas and Kerry that a solution might be a daily Reader's Pick. I"m sure this could be almost completely automated by the very capable OS tech team.
This is a lovely but chilling take on an act that has no encore if done successfully. Odd that the achievement of premature death would be considered a success, but if achieving your objective is success so it is.

Suicide. I've only known one person (for sure) who did this, in high school, and he wasn't fooling around. Shot himself.

I've always suspected one person car accidents were often suicides, and if one had a life insurance policy to worry about that would be a logical way to go. Just don't leave a note. Suicide by cop is another way to do yourself in, the ultimate in passive/agressive behavior.

It always struck me as the height of irony that suicide is considered a crime! WTF? It is the one thing we do have, or should have authority over, and that is our living breathing bodies. For some the pain of living in this world is just too much bear and this is their choice. Surely most people who do attempt to end their lives can go on to live fulfilling lives if their needs are addressed.

As they say it is a long term solution to a short term problem.

How do you feel about assisted suicide Mr. Mustard? I know I'd like to be given the means to send myself out of this world in a cloudlike stupor if I were suffering from an awful disease like ALS or alzheimers or any number of others.

I watched a documentary the other day about the people who chose to jump from the towers in 9/11. Much of the focus was devoted to one famous photo of a man falling head first, the picture came to be known as "falling man." The producers followed several red herrings, and it was interesting how certain ethnic groups (in this case a Puerto Rican, devoutly Catholic family) were deeply ashamed that this might be their beloved family member. The thought that he might have jumped filled them with shame.

Those that jumped were exercising their last ounce of self determination, though technically the jumpers could be considered suicide victims.

It's a huge topic, and the unique way in which you have presented it here is to be commended.
Thank you artsfish and Ablonde for stepping in! Happy to have you weighing in with your thoughtful comments.
I read this post hours ago, but just now can sit down to write something; because the narrative stayed with me along the day...
Dear Mustard: what a post, man! what an original post: hopefulness and suicide casting for the perfect actor; and the cynicism of it all, when you say "Suicide continues to argue that audiences are clamoring for self-destruction, insisting human behavior revels in hopeless ambiguity. The play needs to be staged. Lives need to be lost. Hopelessness answers with a slight smile, assuming the identity of Hope."
Beautifully done. Masterful.
Oops, I go on here: extraordinary couple, Suicide and Hopelessness, a greedy, overdemanding couple, fed by society... perfect.
I loved this post.
Thanks. Kisses!
Marcela
Come on, baby. Come to mama. Only two more.... Do I have to hunt down people who forgot to rate?
Bumping over here, bumping over there.

(just feeding the feed, baby)
One more look, that's all it took..... (or will take!) ;)
Come on.....who's it going to be? Step right up and become #100!
Unfortunately, this topic hits too close to too many homes. Thought provoking and creative. Rated.
A bit too close to home for me to leave the thoughtful response this work deserves. But I thank you for writing it. It is incredible.
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!! 100 ratings!!
YES!!!! You did it Mr. Mustard!!!! Thank you to all of you who came by, read and rated this brave, thoughtful, insightful, intelligent, heartbreaking, inspiring post. Mr. Mustard deserves all the recognition he received for this incredible work of art.
swift as an arrow from line one~rayted.
thank you everyone. i'm knocked out by your kindness and response to cartouche's tenacity in promoting my piece. now everyone go to bed and have pleasant dreams... except on the west coast.
Fab conceit - now for a sequel entitled, Joie de Vivre's Auditions...complete with some Falstaffian characters...and maybe Al Green singing Love and Happiness...
Well deserved standing ovation, Mr. Mustard! We bow to your amazing play!
Can't wait to follow the trail of where this post leads...the play that everyone has encouraged you to write would be such a bonus to an already great piece of work. Sweet Dreams Mr. M.
HOLY DAMN.

Wow, just wow.

I have lain on the casting couch with Suicide but then watched as Hopelessness morphed. His change intrigued me many years ago ...

Hope and I are celebrating our anniversary.
Rated, emailed and redditteded...
Mr. M: - Thank you for exploring so sensitively, this, a topic that society fears examining beyond the mere surface...Suicide: The ultimate "Unknown" that lurks within an infinite 'unknown'...

I did not know until recently my paternal grandfather committed suicide when I was about one year old (the only living grandparent at the time - I remember walking to him on the green grass of our yard, taking my first, tottering but proud steps toward his smiling and encouraging but beaten up face). He was a proud, self-sufficient man, and had worked on farms much of his life. He was dying of a lung disease and needed to be on oxygen. He decided (apparently) that this was all too much of a burden on our already over-burdened little family, so one day he did what I imagine he had done to old and / or ill dogs, farm animals, and the like throughout the course of his life: He took himself into the back yard and put himself down.

It is interesting, the things that families do not dare talk about.

Thank you for this post. Rated.
Excellent! Didn't see it coming.
I had the visual of the stage and the audition set clearly in my mind, although you did not overtly describe it. This play should be staged, perhaps lives would be saved.
The stories these comments tell.... Mr. Mustard, you have hit a nerve.
Bumped before bedtime.

Thank you for this, Mr. M. It makes me terribly sad, but it's a good terribly sad.
I am blown away! Such writing I can only aspire to. Also love Lucinda.
A very beautiful story. Excellent writing, definately bookmarking this.
I haven't forgotten. I'm still here.
you wrote:

"I long for knowledge

Whispered in my ear.

Undo my logic.

Undo my fear."

haunting, beautiful... if suicide hates deep thought, then you have nothing to fear. Thanks for reminding me why you are one of my favorite friends.
Excellent, profound, and compelling.
good morning all my friends. last night your kindness encouraged a great sleep; today I begin the task of writing a one act play, knowing completion of this will indeed be my gratitude conveyed.
Oh, hooray!! We will have to have an OS opening night!!
So glad hopelessness has been "seduced" by hope. May it ever be so.
So glad to hear this, Mr. M. I wonder if you can get the "okay" to use music from the group "JOY DIVISION" (think of it - songs like '{She's Lost] Control' and 'Love Will Tear Us Apart' - the possibilibities are endless. That the extraordinarily gifted lead singer / lyricist hung himself in his ex-wife-to-be's kitchen the night before the band was to leave for their U.S. tour offers additional poignancy) - It seems to me this would provide a wonderful audial backdrop to your soon-to-be-coming one act play!
Angelique Simonetta
thank you for the info. i will listen to it today.
You've nailed this completely. It's hauntingly true. And for anyone asking how something so apparently nonsensical befalls another, this is how it happens. The variables are simply interchangable.
suicide is a choice. to pretend we don't have it, or that i is 'evil' inherently, is to inflict pain.

mortality is dreadful. life is impossibly hard. pain is at times unendurable.

it is because I know I can stop all of this that my choice -- i choose life, now, and again now, and now -- becomes actually Meaningful.

A brilliant and difficult piece. Thank you.
dude, you can write. outstanding post.
Beautiful and recognizable. I love how you handled the allegory, no introduction, just going right into it. I became involved before I knew exactly what was what. The metaphor evolved in step with the narrative. That takes a lot of confidence. You are a terrific writer.
I have read this maybe 20 times. I don't know what it 's like to be suicidal but I do know depression and its relationship to hopelessness, so that's as close as I can get to a personal response. I do know people who counsel people who are suicidal and I know that the object is always to find alternatives, because, it is said that alternatives are what a suicidal person wants. I also know a person that committed suicide and I although he searched for alternatives there were none, and suicide seemed like the only option for him to find peace. I know he wanted me to be happy for him. I just could never get there. Here, suicide is the enemy. I appreciate that.

denese
My Dear Mr. Mustard it seems that to me that you are no stranger to the experience of depression. You have a profound understanding of this subject.....as I said possibly personal experience.
How long does it take to wirte a play, she asked anxiously?

I can't wait to see what happens with it! I am sure it is going somewhere quite real.
I only have one word: amazing.
Ah, the "intrinsic beauty of complexity." Marvelous. I love how this moves from the abstract to the concrete. And I'll always remember the final smile, grounded in a complexity beyond Suicide's ken. Brilliant.
I am speechless and well, as you know, THAT'S saying something.

125 ratings (more than I've ever seen) and still no EP. makes me wonder....
Eloquent for sure.
I waited to comment here because I didn't want a lot of people to see what I said.
I have only recently decided that I don't want to die so much as I just don't want to live. It is progress from the constant thoughts of how to do it and how it would affect my family.
You said it very well.
Speechless.

Reddit, Dugg, Rated.
[I wish I had something to say...this was brilliant]
I am too familiar with depression. At its worst, it makes me useless, petrified. So I have the highest admiration for anyone who can emerge from that dark place, not only whole and able, but with his artist's soul intact.

You've torn beauty out of something hideous.
I am too familiar with depression. At its worst, it makes me useless, petrified. So I have the highest admiration for anyone who can emerge from that dark place, not only whole and able, but with his artist's soul intact.

You've torn beauty out of something hideous.
I am too familiar with depression. At its worst, it makes me useless, petrified. So I have the highest admiration for anyone who can emerge from that dark place, not only whole and able, but with his artist's soul intact.

You've torn beauty out of something hideous.
Wow. Three redundant posts. I'm either hyperactive tonight, or sleepwalking.
I have read this post many times and still don't know what to say. I'm actually sorry I didn't just give up and say so sooner. Thank you.
Been out of pocket and come back today. First thing I've read! WOW!
I have now words for the power of this piece. I have been surrounded by suicide all my life and this gave me a deeper understanding. Can't wait for the play. I shall have to read again and again. This is beyond incredible!
Mr. Mustard, just came back to read this again. 200+ comments? I am so happy that it's gotten the attention it deserves.
Mr. Mustard, stunning and brilliant as well as a play in disguise. I can only imagine what kind of strength and determination as well as skill to write something so beautifully moving.
To all:
I'm now working on the play inspired by this post and your comments.
I can't really add anything, except my compliments on an extremely well-written piece.

BTW - use a bare stage floor, and walls flat black. Sharp high-contrast lighting.
Extremely well written. I've been to those auditions more than once. Ended up leaving before my time on stage. Glad I decided not to take those auditions any longer. Very profound as others have said.
In some weird fluke, instead of "most viewed - past day" my main screen had "highest rated - last month" and I found this moving post. It has moved me to my core. (Somehow that feed is already back to normal.) I know that my audition had Indifference playing a major role, but luckily I stepped out before the role was filled. I'm very grateful to have found this. If you see an increase in the value of Kimberly-Clark stock, you'll understand it's from my new, increased Kleenex consumption.
Wow--this is amazing.

Thank you.
People are so afraid to talk about this, and yet it pervades every family. Thank you. R.
another audition... play?...