my invisible backpack

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about a lot of stuff. My dreams have been crazy, and I haven’t been sleeping well. Each morning when I get up, I put on an invisible backpack full of stuff. I take things out of the pack throughout the day, piece by piece, and examine the items one at a time. I look at each one, feeling its weight in my hand, examining it from every angle, perhaps even touching my tongue to the surface or rubbing it on my cheek, and then I put it back in the pack and reach for another item. I do this all day. Every day.

I think about my brother Mason. It’s been just over six months since he died. It feels like it just happened, and it feels like it happened a decade ago. The passage of time was altered when we sat with him in that hospital room for three weeks, and it hasn’t really reset itself. I think about him every day, wondering where he is now. And with that thought comes the inevitable: what happens after we die? I used to think that I knew the answer. At least, I was comfortable with what I assumed the answer to be. Now I’m not so sure. If part of life after death is living on in the hearts and minds of the people who love you, then my brother is very much still with us. I hope, wherever he is, that he’s seeing the sights. Taking in the view. Expanding his horizons and occasionally checking in with those of us who miss him so much.

As I contemplate next steps in my life and try to determine what I can do now to invest in a happy, fulfilling future, I’ve been thinking about the nature of theatre and what draws me to it. Is this something I will pursue the rest of my life, or is it just what I do with my friends now, like binge-drinking in my 20s? Keep in mind that this is something I didn’t start doing until my mid-30s. I wasn’t a drama nerd in high school (though I’m certain I was a drama queen). So why theatre, and why now?

I watched some videos of flash mobs over the weekend. While I love the concept of flash mobs (large or small groups of people gathering in a public space to do something typically considered inappropriate for that space – dancing in the lobby of a train station, singing in the grocery store, not wearing pants on the subway), there is one aspect of it that kind of bothers me: the videos that chronicle the events. While it’s nice for those of us who weren’t there to see these performances, I think in the purest sense that flash mobs should exist only in the moment they are happening, a special experience meant for the people who are sharing the same air – not something to be played online later.

And having that thought helped clarify for me one of the things that really draws me to theatre. It is only of the moment. The performance that you see, whether at a big theatre or in the backyard of a bar, will never exist again. It will not be played online. It will not be in reruns (the theatre revolution will not be televised). You can’t half-assed pay attention while it’s happening with the intention of watching it again later online. You either get it while it’s being shown you, or you don’t. No second chances. In a reality where people spend more time twittering about the cool thing they’re doing than actually being in the moment of doing the cool thing, theatre stands apart. There’s only us…there’s only this… And I think that’s why I like it. It runs counter to so much of the modern world yet can be a perfect reflection of the modern world at the same time.

There’s also: dog farm, living off the grid, Father’s Day, wine, being an entrepreneur, my soon-to-arrive niece, burgers, whether or not James, the dogs, all our shit and I could fit into a tiny house outside of San Francisco without killing each other, has the summer ever been this hot this early, writing my manifesto in a cabin in the woods, making beaded jewelry, getting out of debt, coffee, etc.


2 responses to “my invisible backpack”

  1. do you rent some space in my head??? i am looking at some of the some prospects/outlooks right now. i have finally found a town i can stay in forever and yet i still have a yearning to be elsewhere. quite the quandary. hope all is well in the humidity!

  2. As I learned with another recent blog post, the desire to do something different is pretty prevalent among everyone right now. I'm hoping to actually do something about it instead of just having the nagging feeling for the next little while.You, my friend, are in a great part of the country. Make it work!

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