I’ve got a lot of thoughts rolling through my head right now, so this post is slightly off-kilter and over-full (like me on Thanksgiving!) In certain literary magazines that I of course can not find any examples of right now, they sometimes they publish essays as numbered lists, giving a writer a little wriggle room for a non-sequitur or two. So I’m trying it for myself.
1. First of all, I’ve been fixated on the following quote:
Atticus said to Jem one day, “I’d rather you shot at tin cans in the backyard, but I know you’ll go after birds. Shoot all the blue jays you want, if you can hit ‘em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.” That was the only time I ever heard Atticus say it was a sin to do something, and I asked Miss Maudie about it. “Your father’s right,” she said. “Mockingbirds don’t do one thing except make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corn cribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.
Harper Lee’s iconic words were originally meant in reference to both racism and ableism; the isolation of Boo Radley and the wrongful conviction of Tom Robinson still ring so painfully true. But I think her idea can be expanded to Think of all the ways we harm our own spirits, an inner mockingbird, if you will. Every time you call yourself ugly, fat, stupid, lazy, or any other slur in a litany of insults, you are bruising the gentlest part of yourself, the bit that gives only light and seeks only love. I’m learning to recognize the tenderness of my soul and practicing a kindness that used to be reserved for family, puppies, and close friends. Why shouldn’t we be kind to everyone, including ourselves?
2.I need to share something else I’ve been trying to gather my thoughts on — I feel sickened and helpless in light of the recent Charleston terror attack, and angered by the narrative that “church-going” black folks didn’t deserve to die. Though an attack on the black church is a pointed, nefarious attack on our heritage, NO black folks deserve to die. Our innocence and value is not determined by our perceived goodness, our gender or sexuality, our occupation, our careers, or any other “just pull your pants up and be quiet” form of respectability politics. Our value is determined by the simple (obviously confusing to many) fact that we are human. Each life is inherently, irrevocably, and infinitely valuable.
3. Everything is linked: the self, the community, the greater reaches of society. In times like these, when our community is being attacked from every possible side, we need to protect one another and ourselves. Cherish and nourish the light within, in quiet defiance of a society determined to quell it.
4. This little (big, glowing, glorious) light of ours, we’re gonna let it shine.
Love and theatre,
5. PS, At some point I will either get back to focusing on theatre OR be change the title and mission of the blog, but for now its important to me to just write and find my rhythm again. Hope you don’t mind hanging in there with me.