September 28, 1976 [The Spirit of the Beehive]

The weather’s cooler now--but I saw a sluggish bee float by, as though the air had become viscous, a transparent, thin syrup--or maybe the bee had been hypnotized, and had not yet emerged from the trance. The glass beehive in The Spirit of the Beehive crawls with them, mesmerized, buzzing; it sits in the room, a tunnel boring through the window so the bees can pass, as if RenĂ© Magritte had designed the house. Maybe in another room a pair of bare feet rests in a corner, above the ankles melting into boot-tops, the living and the made things meeting.

--Which is the little girl’s occupation: She sees Frankenstein and her older sister tells her a story, just enough for the girl to look for Karloff as though he were an Answer to some dim question, something hiding behind her solemn, beautiful face--and she takes me on the search, the two of us wandering on the open Spanish plain, the light lasting long but dying anyway.

And in the dark, by the water, the Monster appears, extends his hand, and takes her into her own dream, out there behind the desolate barn, asleep and safe--despite the false deaths (and a real one, the little drops of blood remaining for her to see). The Monster moves briefly into a little pool of light, then rises and fades, like the movie itself, into the little girl’s head, where she walks to the empty theater--not a chair, not a person, not anything but the little screen waiting with us for the show to start.


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