Monday, August 3, 2009

days of inspiration

"To days of inspiration, playing hooky, making something out of nothing, the need to express, to communicate. To going against the grain, going insane, going mad..."

I had to come here and tell you that even though I have a migraine and I haven't slept in two days and I have to work tonight, today was a day of inspiration for me, and I'm so geeked I need to write about it. What was so inspiring, you might ask (you'll be sorry for asking, trust me). Let me tell you anyway, though. When I was in theater class in college ("OMG, shut up about that," cried Lillian's friend list) my professor gave us a quiz one day that was a sheet full of word puzzles for us to figure out, and one of the answers was "Theatre is fun!" and I wrote a little note under that when I turned mine in saying "No it isn't," and when she returned my graded quiz, she'd written "Yes it is [angry face]" under that. Luckily, she never marked me down for my snotty remarks or bad attitude. The truth is, I wasn't comfortable in my own skin back then, though I'd never have had words to say it (or the balls to admit it even if I'd had the words), so theatre class was an exercise in awkwardness and irritation for me every week, with plenty of opportunities for me to embarrass myself and totally not understand why I was even embarrassed in the first place. The worst part is, so much theatre is devoted to the subject of not being comfortable in your own skin, and I would have had a great opportunity to learn from that and grow if I hadn't been too busy being pissed off all the time to notice. Sorry for bringing this subject up so often in my journal, but it's something I think about a lot (I could write a book on the subject...the title "Adventures in Missing the Point" comes to mind, but that one's already taken).

Anyway, now that I've grown old and decrepit wiserha!, I've come to appreciate theatre with a grand, burning passion, and all my readers are paying for that now. So I finally got off my lazy ass and watched the Here! TV production of the 1910 drama "Awakening of Spring" (more about it here and here) because people told me I needed to watch it, and OMG they were so right, and OMG, it was a theatre geek's wet dream, guys. I kept pausing the movie to take notes and write down quotes from the movie (you're only allowed to pause a movie "On Demand" so many times before it shuts off automatically, and this one shut off on me twice because I paused it so much to document my viewing) and I want to share some quotes for you here. Believe me, though the movie has a reputation for containing more than the RDA of "gay," this is far more than just a "gay movie." It's first and foremost an annoying movie for a lot of people...there are virtually no sets, just actors reciting lines standing against a white or blue background, so the star is the dialogue and the performances, because there's nothing to distract from that, and that can be annoying for the non-theatre geeks, but if you can get past that (or don't mind it in the first place) this movie has a TON to say about the culture of repression and what harm a repressive attitude about sex can have on children (and adults, for that matter). Just read these quotes. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did. They were genius for me. Exactly what I needed to hear today.

"What good's an encyclopedia that doesn't answer the most important question in the world?" Damn, I want to know the same thing. This was spoken by a young boy who talked about reading the entire encyclopedia without finding any information about sex, which is what he really wanted to read about. That's a frustrating thing, let me tell you.

"The obsessive way everyone fastens on it you'd think the entire world revolves around the penis and the vagina." Preach it, brother.

"There's something to be ashamed of in having been human without getting to know the most human thing of all." This is so sad. I used to think this, too, back when I thought I was going to die a virgin. But it applies to a lot more than sex (which all of these quotes do, come to think about it).

"I don't know what I've lost..." "Then looking for it won't help." This may be my favorite bit of dialogue in the whole play. The angst-ridden boy talking to the high-spirited girl, and he expresses his frustration and she answers in her matter-of-fact way, speaking one of the greatest truths in the world. Pure genius.

"They needed a scapegoat! They couldn't let accusations to fall on their own heads, so now my child has the misfortune of running afoul of these fogies and I am supposed to finish the work of the hangmen. Heaven forbid." I love this mom (until she becomes a turncoat, but surrounded by such a narrow mindset, it's hard to blame her).

"What can I say to you with an attitude like that? You let yourself be deceived by words." So do I, in more ways than one.

"When we think back in 30 years, to an evening like this, maybe it will seem indescribably beautiful." Ah, young love.

"I wouldn't have known contentment if I hadn't met you." Now this might be young love, but it's one of the most profound statements I've heard about love in general. One of the greatest things about being in love was that it taught me to be content, to be comfortable in my own skin. Of course, you all know that didn't last, but it's what allows me to still look back on those times with a smile today...for once I knew why those damn biblical writers were always going on so much about contentment. It puts you at ease in a way nothing else can, and there's something about knowing that you are valued and cherished that helps you value and maybe even cherish yourself because it helps you see yourself as worthy. Would that I could hold onto that feeling. Perhaps in time, at the end of all my exploring, but at least now I know what I'm looking for, when I didn't before.

"When we look back in 30 years, maybe we'll just make a joke of it, but it's all so beautiful now." Again, young love. But it's pretty profound, when you think about it. We look back and scoff at our young love (as well we should, because it's often immature and flighty and just plain ill-conceived, but at the time, it was beautiful to us, and that feeling is so easily lost in the passage of time when we forget what we ever saw in the object of our affections. It might do us well to remember, even when the feeling itself is gone.

"What keeps me going? I don't even have the strength left to put an end to it. No one ever walked among graves so full of envy." DAMN. Do I EVER relate to this fucking line. I love how he asks this, and I love how he finds the answer eventually at the end (um, not to give away the end, but trust me, I didn't give away much). I know this feeling often, and I keep coming back to the same answers that keep me going, but sometimes it's nice to know I'm not the only one who has felt these feelings (and again another reason why I should have pulled my head out of my ass and discovered this play when I was in college).

"The only sin is ignorance...the only evil is ignorance!" This is so true it hurts.

"We watch the young mistake their timidity for idealism, and the old die of broken hearts before they'll surrender their false superiority." WOW.

"Let's not be's all so beautiful now." THIS is what I need. Not worrying about tomorrow, or the next day, or even the next minute, but being able to appreciate the beauty in the NOW, even if I know it will pass.

"In years to come, things may go well or badly for me. I may be a different man ten times over, but whatever happens to me, I shall never forget you. I may be an old man with gray hair, but you may still be closer to me than all the women." This reminds me of the words spoken by David (in the bible) about his love for Jonathan:

2 Samuel 1: 26 I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother;
you were very dear to me.
Your love for me was wonderful,
more wonderful than that of women.

Most pastors rush to point out that THIS WASN'T GAY THEY WERE JUST FRIENDS GUYS but I don't really care about that. What strikes me is that he was declaring that among all the love he'd ever felt, this love was more wonderful. I know a few people I could say this about, and I've never had OMG SEX with any of them, so I think I know what he was talking about. In point of fact, I think there's a lot of GAY to be found in this passage, but I don't think it's about the gender, it's about the love, and that's what I keep coming back to with this passage because I don't want to let myself miss the point.

So yeah. This play was written almost a hundred years ago (OMG OLDER THAN ME) and it still resonates like it was written yesterday. THAT is good writing, folks. THAT is inspiring. THAT gives me hope. And for that, I'm thankful.

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