Marching, Listening, With Love

Due to a severe crowd phobia and legs that are unable to support me for hours on end, I did not march in Washington or Charlottesville last Saturday. I did however march through my neighborhood to honor all of my friends and relatives who went to towns and cities around the world to let their voices be heard. My spirit walked beside those who marched for unity, love, equality, truth, freedom, and non-duality. My spirit walked beside those suffering from war, poverty, hatred, hunger, disrespect, and for those who can not see. I walked and prayed to end the idea of the the good versus the bad, Republicans versus Democrats, men versus women, and those who hate because not everyone is on their side.

I am disturbed by the idea of the “Other.” Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, white, brown, black, yellow, straight, gay, trans, rich, poor, pro-lifers, pro-choicers, male, female. We really are all one. I’ve watched polarity and negativity growing on Facebook, Twitter, and on the streets, among those who had at one time seemed to be united in their cause. For months fear and hysteria have gripped our nation. I was there along with everyone else.

Now that the deed has been done, and Donald Trump is the new president, we’re still breathing, we’re still alive, and we still live in the best country on earth, on the bluest, most sparkly planet in the Universe. That, however, does not mean that all will be well. Climate change will still happen, some people will still hate one another, many will continue to worship money, and few of us will agree with everyone else all of the time.

There is a huge amount of work to be done. Being kind, taking care of ourselves as well as those who stand next to us, speaking out, making phone calls, signing petitions, and writing letters are some of the things we can do.

Since seeing the turnout on Saturday, I feel better about the future of our country. I will work to respect everyone’s individuality and belief systems. I will work to look beyond my own prejudices and look at what is best for all of us. I will work at being loving and kind even when I don’t see eye-to-eye with those around me.


Truth Or Consequences In Writing Memoir

IMG_0687“I was sitting at a beach with my notebook, and I’m thinking about how to get back into [writing] and what matters to me, and I just sort of self-destructed at Brothers & Sisters. I had written about personal events that implicated other people in some way, that I hadn’t taken into account the consequences, and I found myself very much like the character in my play … a writer who is a dangerous creature.”

“And I had a note to myself, ‘play about daughter of a famous family who writes a book about her growing up in this family,’ something like that; ‘the danger of telling the truth that turns out to be a lie.’”  — Jon Robin Baitz, playwright

This past weekend Bill and I went up to the Arena Stage in Washington, DC to see a show.  Every year we buy a half series of season matinée tickets, jump in the car and make the two and a half hour trip up and back in one day.  It’s a great way to get out of Dodge for a short period of time, cleansing the mind of huge and trivial pursuits, and giving us a taste of city sophistication. Though Charlottesville is a pretty sophisticated place it doesn’t hold a candle to being in the capital, where like it or not, it all happens, good, bad and indifferent.

The only persons who know where we are and our cell phone numbers are family members and whoever is looking after our dogs and cat.  And we don’t usually hear from any of them. The only huge drawback is the trip itself, which involves sitting in the car and the theatre for about eight hours in one day.  Not my favorite thing to do, especially if the show doesn’t grab me, which sometimes happens.  My body gets stuck in its seated position and as the years go by it gets harder and harder to get my muscles to get myself upright and walking again. If the theatrical production we see doesn’t stimulate my mind, my entire body will start asking questions like, “Why do you insist upon doing this to me?  Don’t you know that the more you sit, the shorter our life span will be?”

This past year has been a fairly good season for us in which we saw, Pullman Porter Blues (great music, so-so otherwise), Metamorphosis, and Good People, both stellar in almost every way.  Should you want to know more about them go to Bill’s blog, at View In The Dark, for his reviews and his interesting theatre chatter.

But in my mind, the best this year is the last of our series, Other Desert Cities, by Jon Robin Baitz, who created Brothers & Sisters for ABC.  And if truth were told I wouldn’t mind seeing it again and often, and I think I’ll even read it.  A very rare thing for me.

Set in the living room of the well-connected Wyeth family, who live in the desert community of Palm Springs, this family drama caught my attention for it’s references to writing memoir and truth.  Something many of us who are involved in the genre of memoir deal with every day as we put pen to paper. In this theatrical production, daughter, Brooke, comes home for the holidays for the first time in six years. She brings with her the manuscript of a book she has just sold and will soon be on bookstore shelves.

Intended to be a novel, her story turns into a memoir during the writing process, as she deals with the suicide of her brother, with whom she was very close.  Her parents, old friends of Nancy and Ronald Reagan, and the darlings of Republican politicians, far and wide, plead with her to wait to publish the book until after their deaths, claiming the consequences would damage too many lives.

I won’t go any further in telling the story and the secret that eventually comes out, as I hope all of my memoir writing friends and everyone else for that matter, will go out and see this heart-wrenching drama when you have a chance.  It was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2012, and will hopefully continue to make its rounds in regional theatres across the country.