I grew up in the suburbs of northeast Ohio where live theater was limited to my basement, Lake Township Community Players or VBS. I'll never forget the first professional production I watched (on PBS, mind you). I was twelve. It was August. I was stretched out on worn brown carpet, perched in front of the television set in my parent's air-conditioned bedroom. The play was Our Town by Thorton Wilder. I cried. I felt all by myself (I was) and like I was a part of something bigger (I am). It was weird.
Our Town tells a story of community life, sure. But, more than that, Our Town squeezed my twelve-year old heart for how it celebrated the beauty of one interconnected everyday, ordinary life.
After dying (spoiler alert, sorry) Emily Gibbs returns to the most normal day of her life as an observer and bursts into tears, unable to handle the joy, sorrow, and wonder of just one ordinary day.
EMILY: "Oh, Earth, you're too wonderful for anybody to realize you.”
That play, that day, I fell in love with the frail beauty of being human. Art celebrates Life's brevity with awareness. THAT is why I am an artist, and why I love artists.
Artists reach out and say, "Look! See? Do you get it? Life is beautiful, fleeting, pulsing with love, wonder and mystery." And so often, we don't see it without their help.
So today, I want to thank two artists for their help...
Thorton Wilder? Thank you. You're dead, but I see you, man. I get you. Thanks for that play you wrote. I'll never get over how it made me feel.
Nora Daniel? Thank you. I love the 8 X 6 oil painting you found in the sale bin for us, "Cup and Tomatoes" at the Y City Art Fair. Blue and red mean the world to me in more ways then I can explain. Blue whorls on coffee cups and volunteer cherry tomatoes will save the world one day. I just know it.
Don't believe me? See for yourself!!
CUP AND TOMATOES BY NORA DANIEL
Look! See? Do you get it??
My heart grew hot within me; as I mused, the fire burned. Then I spoke with my tongue: 4“Show me, O LORD, my end and the measure of my days. Let me know how fleeting my life is. 5You, indeed, have made my days as handbreadths, and my lifetime as nothing before You. Truly each man at his best exists as but a breath. Selah… Psalm 39: 3-5