Author: chrisjjansen

The Mystery of Hamlet and Hamnet

It's usually noted in introductions to Hamlet that the title character was named after Shakespeare's son Hamnet (the names and spelling were interchangeable at the time), who had died about 3 years previously at age 11. That's usually where the discussion ends, since there is no obvious connection between these two facts, and yet it remains a very unsatisfying state of affairs; surely it must mean something, right? But why would Shakespeare name this vacillating,neurotic, possible hero, possible villain, definite murderer, after his young son? What kind of awful tribute would that make?Critics have observed the general gloominess of the play's mood and its body count and speculated about death and depression. Grief and loss. And yet, like most of the connections between Shakespeare's biography and his work, it remains bafflingly opaque. Here's my theory (which I touch on in a longer paper, which is currently being queued for rejection at various literary journals): one of the big themes of Hamlet is lost possibilities. Wait..."lost possibilities" is not quite right...lost versions of reality, much like the "many worlds" of physics that coexist alongside the world that an observer experiences. Ways of being--worlds--which for the characters should have been, but will not be. Almost every scene contains the spectre of events past, present, and future, which might-have-been or be, and is then flung back into nothingness in a Sartrean negation. Just as Hamlet Sr would not live happily with his Queen.Just as Hamlet would not become king.Just as Hamlet and Ophelia…

The Magic Castle

Today is Sunday. On Friday I had my first injection of  horse tranquilizer for depression. “Treatment-resistant depression” officially. And I got my meds, not from some guy in a van, but from the very legit Treatment-Resistant Depression Clinic (which I like to call the TRD clinic. ) I’ve been interested in ketamine since before I got clean. I heard it was a magic bullet for anxiety/depression, which has ruined half my life (I was solely responsible for the rest). Of course since underwent the metamorphis of rehab, I’m much better than I ever was. I have tools to manage the thoughts of catastrophe and failure, the feelings of emptiness and anhedonia. I’ve learned to sing in my chains.  But, as I told the PA who did my intake, I’d like to try it without the chains. When I was in rehab, I heard one of the shrinks, Dr. Giorgadze – Dr G – was using it. Dr. G wasn’t my doctor but I used to hem him up whenever he was in the building, grill him about G-proteins and existentialism. Once when I was in the big bathroom in the Day Hospital he walked in and started peeing at the next urinal and I was actually starting to feel good again (pink cloud), so I started singing “I’m the ket- a – mine man, fixin’ up depression, making the world taste good.” He looked at me like I was nuts. It was a mental hospital, after all. After rehab I…

2:15 Did you hear about Dominic?

Lieutenant Dominic voted in the election and no one has seen him since. All we know is that supposedly he’s been discharged but he didn’t leave any contact information and no one had a chance to see him off. I feel guilty for not making more of an effort to wish him well and get an email address for him after he had served as such a great leader, but it wasn’t at all unusual for people to just disappear, glad to be done with this place. I envy his freedom and feel sure he is going to have a great life. I hope things work out with his wife and kids. Maybe she will appreciate how much he’s changed. Maybe he will actually realize his dream of becoming a priest.

2:13 You have a burning sensation?

At 3:23 AM—according to my alarm clock—I get up to pee, relishing the freedom of solitude now that Junkiemind Jerry has moved out. I stand in the bathroom’s inadequate yellow half-light feeling stronger than I ever have since I got here. I look at myself in the mirror and decide to shave as soon as I can buy some razors from those thieves in the pharmacy.         I shuffle over to the toilet, amazed at how I can now take pleasure in a simple thing like peeing. Relax...ahh…     OH GOD OH GOD OH FUCK OH GOD