Varieties of YES: A Zen View, John Cage, Mary Oliver, James Joyce and the Katz’s Deli Orgasm

2019 is the 30-year anniversary* of Meg Ryan’s perfection of a faked orgasm while sitting at a table in Katz’s Deli in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. The scene from When Harry Met Sally was written by the great Nora Ephron and it is as inspired and funny now as it was then. We didn’t realize just how much Ryan’s soliloquy evokes YES until we saw artist Rachel Perry Welty‘s wonderful sign made as a tribute when Ephron passed away in 2013. Using letters cut from Ephron’s obituary, she transformed a sad passing into a its much bigger view, a poetry of Yes.

 

 

Of course, it made us think of Molly Bloom’s Soliloquy, the beautiful, unpunctuated stream of consciousness passage that ends James Joyce’s Ulysses.

I was a Flower of the mountain yes when I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used or shall I wear a red yes and how he kissed me under the Moorish Wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes.

It is another wholehearted YES that got us thinking about YES, reminded us of the Yeses we’ve written about or experienced. Like Anne Herbert’s wonderful notion of BEING yes, when yes is right…

Sally Schneider

…And an exploration into the energy of YES from a favorite book, Free Play: Improvisation in Life and Art by Stephen Nachmanovitch:

Look at whatever is in front of you and say, “Yes! Yes! Yes!” to it…The universe of possibilities becomes visible, tangibly larger, over a period of mere moments.

When you say, “No, No, No,” the world gets smaller and heavier.

Try it both ways and verify the truth of this very simple method.

Yes! Yes! Yes

 

We’ve spent a lot of time pondering the great John Cage’s amazing set of questions from A Year from Monday.   Can we say YES in the face of unpredictability,  even when what we think we are saying yes to may not happen, or may happen completely differently than we thought…?

…And the practice we learned from great theatrical improvisors of saying “Yes, and…” to whatever is offered… “a protocol that allows for anything to happen.”

 

 

….And then there is Mary Oliver saying Yes in Mysteries, Yes that we just opened to in Devotions:

Truly, we live with mysteries too marvelous
to be understood.

How grass can be nourishing in the
mouths of the lambs.
How rivers and stones are forever
in allegiance with gravity
while we ourselves dream of rising.
How two hands touch and the bonds
will never be broken.
How people come, from delight or the
scars of damage,
to the comfort of a poem.

Let me keep my distance, always, from those
who think they have the answers.

Let me keep company always with those who say
“Look!” and laugh in astonishment,
and bow their heads.

 

*To celebrate, on July 12, Katz’s is inviting patrons to recreate the memorable “I’ll have what’s she’s having” scene at the same table where Crystal and Ryan filmed. “Contestants of any gender can try and fake it better than the comedic actress and a panel of to be announced notable New Yorkers and special guests will judge who fakes it best.” —via Neatorama

No comments yet.

Leave A Comment

subscribing = loving

If the Improvised Life is a source of creativity, inspiration, ideas and change in your daily life, please consider becoming a Friend with Benefits. A little bit goes a long way towards helping us publish fresh AD-FREE content each day.