It would be impossible for me to pick one thing from this weekend to document on my blog. Because basically it was just a big old heap of awesome from start to finish.
This weekend, I went to New York City1 for a number of reasons, none of which were particularly pressing at the time I decided to go, but in the end, they all ended up being infinitely important to my current mental well-being.
First of all, I met Terry Pratchett, who I believe is in the top ten greatest writers of the last fifty years. He is a living legend. A literary giant. A satirical genius. Meeting him and hearing his advice on being a writer was refreshing because he approached it with the same degree of honesty with which he approaches all the topics in his novels: he told me to write often, read the best books, and do not let anyone give me writing advice, because writing is a personal process that is different for everyone. He also said the trick to being a really good writer is not caring what anyone else thinks, just write what you want to write, and own it. I wanted to hug him for saying this, but he’s kind of old and I didn’t want to break him. Also I’m fairly certain if I tried to touch him, one of his posse would have shouted, “NO TOUCHING!”
(This part of the story of my weekend that really has nothing to do with the rest, it was just really exciting and I wanted to get it out there.)
Then I saw a show…actually, let’s move unchronologically2 here. On an equally unrelated note but still an awesome one worth mentioning, I met up with a lovely friend of mine, who we will call Ariel for multiple reasons, who lives in Hell’s Kitchen. We had a much fancier dinner than I am accustomed to – you know, the kind where they arrange your food all artsy like on the plate. It was French Thai. Really, I didn’t know what to do with myself in such a high-class place3. Ariel is a very fascinating person to me. She is Bohemian in the best kind of way, where every conversation I have with her could be a Camus novel. I think Ariel and I are in similar places in our lives, and it was refreshing to talk to someone honest and artistic about how uncomfortable that place can be.
Anyways, on to the good stuff! Over the course of the weekend, I saw two beautiful shows. First, Cyrano de Bergerac, which is in constant competition with The Seagull and Hamlet for the title of my favorite play ever4. It is an old favorite – the kind of show I know I will always enjoy.
Saturday night I saw a new show with Ariel called Peter and the Star-Catcher. I did not know much about this show, other than once a long time ago reading the novel it’s based on. I was delighted and surprised to find that it was incredibly inventive and unexpected, and it touched me in a very unique way. And it was also exactly what I needed to see this weekend.
There is a line in the show I picked out where Peter says, “Things are only worth what you’re willing to give up for them.” I immediately wrote it down on my Playbill. Because it got me thinking about the things I do most in life, the things I associated pleasure with. I think about the Facebook, and the YouTube, and I think about Diet Coke, and my cell phone, and my favorite pair of boots. Then I think about things that I sometimes think of as a chore – relationships with people, maintaining contact with family, even writing sometimes. Things that get pushed to the back burner of my life in favor of these daily trivialities. But when I think about it in the context of Peter’s line, it made me think about what is really important in my life. Who is really important?
Similarly, I read a book a week ago called Will Grayson, Will Grayson, where one of the characters is talking about the unnecessary importance we place on romantic love and who wants to do who and whatnot. The character says, “You know what’s really important? Who would you die for.” Peter and the Star-Catcher encapsulates this idea perfectly. Weirdly enough, I think Cyrano does too. Because, at the end of the day, our lives are not going to be about how many facebook friends we had or how many hours we spent on mass transit5. Life’s about who you would save. Who is the last person we are going to want to say goodbye to, when our day comes? Who would we run into battle for? When you know you have one hour left, whose convent do you walk to to say goodbye? Who are we willing to trade a trunk full of star-stuff for6?
And that is your deep thought for the day, coming at you from the bus on the way back to Lexington. It is late, and I am worn out from my impossibly awesome weekend, so this may not be the most coherent thing I have ever written, but it’s what I’m thinking about right now. I know I do a lot of existentially-fraught posts, but I am a twenty-century twenty-something. According to Lena Dunham, I am allowed to be angsty and pseudo-intellectual.
And if you don’t like it, you can leave.
- Again. I need to stop doing this – it’s destroying my bank account.
- Not a real word.
- High class being a relative term – their menus came in recycled CD cases.
- Cyrano and I have the sort of relationship where I know exactly what line he is going to say that will set me off, and then I will dissolve into a useless puddle of tears for the rest of the show. It happens every damn time. And it’s always the same line. “I told her everything – it’s you she loves!” *Cue hysterics*
- Two and a half on Wednesday, just to get home, not that I’m counting or bitter. Man, I have got to get out of Lexington.
- If you miss these references, it is because they are very specific to the two aforementioned plays.