Doct. What is it she does now? Look, how she rubs her hands.
Gen. It is an accustomed action with her, to seem thus washing her hands. I have known her to continue in this a quarter of an hour.
Lady M. Yet here’s a spot.
Doct. Hark! she speaks. I will set down what comes from her, to satisfy my remembrance the more strongly.
Lady M. Out, damned spot! out, I say!
– Shakespeare, Macbeth
Have you ever tried to remove a spot which wasn’t there? Tried to wash away a stain which only you could see?
The more you try to remove it, to hide what you don’t want to be seen, the more you draw attention to that which you would like never to be noticed. The more you give life, shape and form, to something which may not have existed until you imbued it with existence.
Have you ever observed someone else doing this? They were trying so hard to get rid of a spot before you noticed it, and because of their efforts you noticed something which you would not have otherwise seen.
Or perhaps there is nothing there, but they think there is, and they don’t want you to see it… you can’t, but you want to because otherwise… they’re crazy and that’s something you would rather not know about.
Have you ever observed someone else observing you doing this?
It has been pointed out to me that I my writing, my style of thinking, can give people headaches. Was that a truer word spoken in jest, perhaps, or…?
So many options to consider… perceptions to perceive… spots… are they there or are they there but not there or are they…?
“Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?”
I wonder what sort of conversations Poe and Shakespeare would have had had they conversed together?
Poe: Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep — while I weep!
Shakespeare: By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes.
Poe: Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
Shakespeare: You speak an infinite deal of nothing.
Poe: There is no exquisite beauty… without some strangeness in the proportion.
Shakespeare: I would challenge you to a battle of wits, but I see you are unarmed!
Poe: I have great faith in fools – self-confidence my friends will call it.
Shakespeare: Lord, what fools these mortals be!
Poe: Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence– whether much that is glorious– whether all that is profound– does not spring from disease of thought– from moods of mind exalted at the expense of the general intellect.
Shakespeare: Dispute not with her: she is lunatic.
Poe: … (did he just call me a she…?)
Shakespeare: … (Mebeteth that he’s thinkething about that!)
Shakespeare: Verily I say unto you… Yupeth!
Poe: Laudanum or Absinthe?
Shakespeare: Anything but water, sparkling or still… that stuffeth teemeth with the unthinkable!
Poe: The best things in life make you sweaty.
Shakespeare: Though this be madness, yet there is method in’t.
“Now this is the point. You fancy me a mad. Madmen know nothing. But you should have seen me. You should have seen how wisely I proceeded…” ― Edgar Allan Poe, Telltale Heart and Other Writings