What are we talking about today?

Some days have themes. I don't necessarily post something in each of these topic areas every week.

Sunday: Church-related or spiritual things.
Monday: Running.
Tuesday: Books.
Wednesday: Transportation.
Friday: Green living.

06 July 2016

That Would Be Enough

I follow YA author Shannon Hale on Twitter (and you should, too; she's fantastic), and in the midst of a discussion about the relationship between writers and readers yesterday, she asked, "What does craft matter if you have nothing to say?" What, indeed.

I bought Lin-Manuel Miranda's book Hamilton: The Revolution a few weeks ago. Hamilton's is a story I think we've all agreed at this point was well worth telling, and of course Lin-Manuel crafts this something to say so well that getting a ticket to see it costs approximately one firstborn. (I saw a brilliant sign in BookPeople below Ron Chernow's Alexander Hamilton: "Tickets available for this version!") In a musical filled with heart-wrenching moments, The One for me is Eliza's "I live another 50 years. It's not enough," in "Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story." My reaction hasn't changed from the first time I heard it-- I still think, "Fifty years? Are you kidding me? Fifty years?" The thought of living 50 years without Chadwick is unthinkable.

I do love this. There are a bunch of these stickers
scattered around Austin, but this particular one is
at an intersection near my last house in ATX.
But maybe that's why Eliza got so much done, because as she says, she didn't "waste time on tears." She didn't sit around feeling sorry for herself. Of course she didn't know at the outset how much time she would have, which I suppose helps with the whole not-wasting-time thing. And in the end, it's because she got things done that her story is so compelling, and her work is why both Hamiltons' story is still being told.

While thinking about this, I ran across Samuel Beckett's Texts for Nothing, which includes this gem:
There's my life, why not, it is one, if you like, if you must, I don't say no, this evening. There has to be one, it seems, once there is speech, no need of a story, a story is not compulsory, just a life, that's the mistake I made, one of the mistakes, to have wanted a story for myself, whereas life alone is enough. (emphasis mine)
Do I want to live a great story that has something to say? Of course I do. Do I enjoy telling my husband's story? Very much so. But I also want to live like my life is enough. Listening to birds while reading by a little creek in a clump of trees does not a great story make. But it's not a terrible addition to a life. Nor is chocolate, or sharing a joke with my niece, or having a cup of tea with a friend, or spending a few minutes of my day catching up with people on Twitter who I care about and who make me smile, even if we never meet face to face. I'd hate to be so consumed with "YOLO" or "Go big or go home" that I forget it's these little day-to-day things that make life worth living.

Don't stop trying to live your best story. But you don't have to chase your life as a Broadway musical, either. Be you, and be enough.

Post title is a song title in the first act as well as a repeated theme of Eliza's in Hamilton.


Crystal Collier said...

Inspiring words. Sometimes knowing the route to take can be tricky as well. Do I focus on career, do I focus on kids, do I wear green or eat cheese? Kidding. Kidding. Not really. I'm eating cheese. ;)

Su Wilcox said...

Oooh, I think I'll go eat some cheese. Great idea!

(And yes, finding the route is nigh impossible. The fact that we're all still stumbling around finding our way gives me both despair (that humans still haven't figured this out) and hope (that by gum, we're not going to stop trying).