That night, I dream. And when I wake up I remember watching a film with Nannan about a ventriloquist who went mad, his dummy coming to life and speaking for itself. My dream is like the end of the film where the ventriloquist and the dummy are in the madhouse, all these mad devil-faces pressed against the iron bars of the cell door, laughing as the dummy gets up off his chair and walks towards the ventriloquist who screams. The dummy strangles him. I can't remember in the dream if I was the ventriloquist or the dummy. I'm in a funny mood all day. I don't say much. I don't feel like it.
What interests me when I'm writing is being able to crawl into a character's head and speak from his or her mouth. It's not pulling the strings on a marionette, it's not playing ventriloquist, and it's not mimicry. It's about inhabiting a character, and, at the same time, being totally unaware of what you've become.
The magic in performing as an entertaining ventriloquist happens when the characters come to life and the interaction between the separate personalities on stage becomes 'real.' Then don't forget that the act has to be funny, and to me, being funny and entertaining any given audience is more important than anything.
Often he had the impression that the person answering questions from the scratchy armchair was a dummy he was controlling, that this had been true throughout his life, and that his life had become so involved with operating the dummy that he, the ventriloquist, had ceased to have a personality, becoming just an arm stuffed up the puppet's back.
When we can't hold back, or set boundaries, on what comes from our lips, our words are in charge-not us. But we are still responsible for those words. Our words do not come from somewhere outside of us, as if we were a ventriloquist's dummy. They are the product of our hearts. Our saying, "I didn't mean that," is probably better translated, "I didn't want you to know I thought that about you." We need to take responsibility for our words. "But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken" (Matt. 12:36).
Ladies and Gentlemen. I should like to inform you on behalf of the nation state of Guyana, that we are going to resign from being a country. We can't make it work. We have tried. We have done our best. It is not possible. The problems are insoluble. From midnight tonight, we shall cease trading. The country is now disbanded. We will voluntarily liquidate ourselves. The nation will disperse quietly, a little shamefaced but so what. We had a go. Different people have suggested different solutions. Do it this way. Try that. Let me have a go. Nothing works. We are at the mercy of the rich countries. A team of management consultants from the United States could not find the answer, and for not finding the answer, we had to pay them an amount that substantially increased our national debt. We give in, gracefully, but we give in." And then he imagined himself, quietly and with dignity, putting his papers in his briefcase, bowing to the hushed assembly, returning to clear out his office and going for a walk with his wife along the sea wall. (The Ventriloquist's Tale
Strict Time There's a hand on a wire that leads to my mouth I can hear you knocking but I'm not coming out Don't want to be a puppet or a ventriloquist 'Cause there's no ventilation on a critical list Fingers creeping up my spine are not mine to resist Strict time Chorus: Toughen up, toughen up Keep your lip buttoned up Strict time Oh the muscles flex and the fingers curl And a cold sweat breaks out on the sweater girl Strict time Oh he's all hands, don't touch that dial The courting cold wars weekend witch trial Strict time All the boys are straight laced and the girls are frigid The talk is two-faced and the rules are rigid 'cause it's strict time Strict time You talk in hushed tones, I talk in lush tones Try to look Italian through the musical Valium Strict time Thinking of grand larceny Smoking the everlasting cigarette of chastity Cute assistants staying alive More like a hand job than the hand jive Strict time
Did I ever tell you about the man who taught his asshole to talk? His whole abdomen would move up and down, you dig, farting out the words. It was unlike anything I ever heard. Bubbly, thick, stagnant sound. A sound you could smell. This man worked for the carnival, you dig? And to start with it was like a novelty ventriloquist act. After a while, the ass started talking on its own. He would go in without anything prepared... and his ass would ad-lib and toss the gags back at him every time. Then it developed sort of teethlike... little raspy incurving hooks and started eating. He thought this was cute at first and built an act around it... but the asshole would eat its way through his pants and start talking on the street... shouting out it wanted equal rights. It would get drunk, too, and have crying jags. Nobody loved it. And it wanted to be kissed, same as any other mouth. Finally, it talked all the time, day and night. You could hear him for blocks, screaming at it to shut up... beating at it with his fists... and sticking candles up it, but... nothing did any good, and the asshole said to him... "It is you who will shut up in the end, not me... "because we don't need you around here anymore. I can talk and eat and shit." After that, he began waking up in the morning with transparentjelly... like a tadpole's tail all over his mouth. He would tear it off his mouth and the pieces would stick to his hands... like burning gasoline jelly and grow there. So, finally, his mouth sealed over... and the whole head... would have amputated spontaneously except for the eyes, you dig? That's the one thing that the asshole couldn't do was see. It needed the eyes. Nerve connections were blocked... and infiltrated and atrophied. So, the brain couldn't give orders anymore. It was trapped inside the skull... sealed off. For a while, you could see... the silent, helpless suffering of the brain behind the eyes. And then finally the brain must have died... because the eyes went out... and there was no more feeling in them than a crab's eye at the end of a stalk.
William S. Burroughs