Friday, May 21, 2010

Why I'm Excited Today

First of all, it's Friday. And I have a super pleasant day planned in 6th grade today that involves reading a fabulous novel of courage and determination, (Homecoming, by Cynthia Voight.) Kids are working on their Portrait of the Artist Projects, and they're totally into them and enthusiastic and focused, and it's lots of good energy in 6th grade today, despite the fact that it's 75 degrees and sunroof-open lovely outside...I still have 50 eleven year olds who are kind of glad to be where they are.

Second of all, last night I got to see two of my most favorite high school students be brave and bold and fabulous as they directed their peers in a series of short plays. They were so excited and proud and whirring balls of energy, and I was incredibly proud of them, and loved seeing the actors in ways I hadn't been able to see them before. They "gave the gift," as Michael Joseph would say. And one of them, (the one who played Francie when I did A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, one of my top five theatre experiences anywhere ever) later sent a text about her feelings about the night, and she said this, "Today was volatile then phenomenal, sea of tears and hugs, then oddly very happy because I got to be something every single minute and it was worth it." This is in reference to my favorite passage in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, where Francie says, upon learning of the outbreak of World War I:

"Let me be something every minute of every hour of my life. Let me be gay; let me be sad. Let me be cold; let me be warm. Let me be hungry...have too much to eat. Let me be ragged or well dressed. Let me be sincere-be deceitful. Let me be truthful; let me be a liar. Let me be honorable and let me sin. Only let me be something every blessed minute. And when I sleep, let me dream all the time so that not one little piece of living is ever lost."

It is a huge piece of my life's philosophy, and my feelings about art and love theatre and the whole act of creation...of, well, anything. I love that she has internalized that and made it her very own. And, Iloved the chance to sit back and watch these fabulous girls make a hat where there never was a hat, and build something of their very own from scratch, taking a whole bunch of energetic people on the journey with them. It was awesome.

And the third thing I'm incredibly happy about today is just like that, only different. My friend Peter Fernandez, author and composer, wrote a musical in 2005 called "Duplex" about two couples living in a Somerville duplex, and their discoveries and struggles. It was brilliant then, and we all went to see it in Boston, and he's revamped it, adding new songs and making changes, and we're all going to see it again tonight in Harvard. Now, I love this for many reasons. For the obvious one, of course, that one of our friends so incredibly talented and accomplished that his work is being performed and revived and celebrated. Pete was my first close friend at UMass, and when I first met him, he was hard at work transcribing all of the Schoolhouse Rock music by hand, from the videotapes. (This was before someone else stole his and Bill Larkin's idea to do it as a live stageshow.) He and Bill were the first, and it was that show that opened up some of the most important doors in my life, and the lives of a whole bunch of other people, actually. Music has been his passion for his whole life, and I have loved every chance I've had to see him live that passion out loud.

So, I'm excited because I'm proud of Pete for being brave and brilliant and incredibly talented and driven. But I'm also excited because all of our friends who are local are going to see it. All of these people who have known Pete for so long now are banding together to give him our love and support and energy, because he deserves it for being a good person who is so easy to love. Not just because he's talented, but because he's Pete. And the fact that he engenders that in so many people...well, it's just buckets of positivity and joy and good good good in the world that I'm so grateful to be a part of.

On another note there, my babysitter for tonight is someone I have known since she was in the 6th grade. She's babysitting tonight with her boyfriend, whom I have also known very well for many years. (And the girls know both of them extremely well, too, as they were all in camp together for years.) There was quite the moral quandry for me about whether or not it was wise or appropriate to let her bring her boyfriend with her, as kind and nice and responsible as they might be. And this is no reflection on her at all. I, too, used to babysit for my high school director's kids with my boyfriend...and I know what I was doing, and it was because I totally could. But I was a good girl, in love with a good boy, and really, it was good and healthy for us to get to just hang out together, and no harm was done. So, in the end, I decided that if it was fine with both of their parents, then it was fine with me. I did have to seek input from my Mothering Village on that one, though. (Thank you, Village!) It was a new question to have been asked.

Really loving this Friday.

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