Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Why the hell not?

I went to a play reading last night with a friend who's an actress and a playwright. Play readings help the playwright figure out what works and what doesn't when they hear actors trying to breathe life into it. You know, what stops people from creating is the constant fear that your work will not be as good as ... Van Gogh or Beethoven or Tennessee Williams. That's fair, it probably won't be. But whether or not you truly are talented, everyone has a voice to express. You may be brilliant, be just okay, or totally suck. You can even learn to be better as you go along, you may need some practise, some education, some guidance. And from what I saw last night, you can write beautifully, poetically, but not be able to understand just what a play is. I was a reader and though the play had some compelling imagery in it, it wasn't really a play. It was just scene after scene of great sentence structure and explanation.

Infertility is not a popular topic with people not dealing with it, but grief, loss, hope, bitterness and sarcasm are not exclusive to us. Lots of people have to redefine what is family. The world doesn't stop to address every individual's suffering (unless you're a celebrity), nor does any divine being in the sky have it out just for you. And in the depths of my despair, it had crossed my mind that if I could just reach out to Benny Hinn on the TV, become a born again Christian, that I might qualify for a miracle. Or I could have used donor eggs, hired a surrogate, or gone to a clinic in India to get some poverty stricken but fertile woman to carry a baby for me. I had these choices, however, they were not for me, for us. If I had more money, if I had married someone else who might have felt differently, if I was more desperate, more motivated ..... who knows?

The world of "what if" is full of all sorts of probable and improbable options. Then when I read the blogs of those who have chosen adoption, when I read about how they felt about their child, their choice, I felt hopeful, eager. Hopeful that I can learn to navigate a river that I'd never thought I go down.

Have you every white water rafted? I did once, years ago, down the Thompson River with a group. I don't swim, you see, so my athletic husband (boyfriend at the time) scoffed at me, he didn't think I'd be interested, that I'd be a scaredy cat. I love proving people wrong. The idea of it was exciting to me, I'd seen it on TV and everyone looked like they were having so much fun. The reality of not being able to swim, however, was a huge impediment. I sincerely did not want to die. So off we went with a group of friends. I stayed in the back of the raft with the guide and the other timid girl. He assured us we'd be fine and wouldn't fall out the raft. Well, everything was great until we hit the Class 5000 or whatever rapids (known as "the Frog") and the boat shot up in the sky, folded in half and everyone in the back fell out. Yes, we were wearing life jackets, but boy was I surprised to find out I was under the water, being sucked down. I didn't even have time to scream and close my eyes. I remember perfectly how badly I didn't want to die in that river that day and as I shot to the surface (I know, I know, I had a life jacket, that's what's supposed to happen, right?) I felt victorious that the river gods hadn't swallowed me. I didn't lose my glasses (had them tied to my windbreaker) or my paddle and I didn't swallow any water. A female friend dragged my ass back on the raft, my idiot boyfriend hadn't even realized I was gone (and for the next several years, I reminded him of how he had not rescued me), the other girl who had been thrown did actually swallow water and was quite shaken and ill, the guide was injured and had to be replaced. I had fought fear and uncertainty all day long. I can speak in front of thousands of people but put me in an environment where I have to rely upon my physical body? Not so good. For the rest of the day, I was hysterically happy to be alive. That's what usually happens when I avoid death, I don't get shaken, I get happy.

Okay, what the hell was my point? Oh, yeah, going down that scary river. It was scary and thrilling and I don't regret it. I learned something about myself, and nobody, but nobody is telling me what I can or cannot do.

So, yeah, I'm writing the play.

1 comment:

Wordgirl said...


(Goosebumps again, by the way)

I truly believe it's good for the soul -- creativity, not necessarily the goosebumps :)

That's really, really cool.