It’s been kind of a weird long weekend. I’ve been a bit of a funky mood through the whole thing and I’ve been missing Tommy a lot more than usual. I’m not exactly sure why that is so I’m going to write for a while and maybe that will start to clarify things and order my brain. Y’all will have to bear with me while I do this but, if you’re a long term reader of these posts, you know how it goes. Fingers fly across the keyboard, a stream of consciousness emerges and by the time I’m done, I feel better, have usually started to uncover what the issues are and you are all bored silly and have stopped reading and scrolled on to the latest cat memes.
The major theme of this past week has been one of endings. I’ve been participating in a small group meeting at church that has been going through a book of readings and exercises around various existential topics that come up far too often in life. Our last meeting was last night. (We finished the book). I’ve enjoyed it but feel like I need to take a step back from church in general as I find myself there about three times a week for something and I think it’s good for the institution if different people step up at different times. I’m also ending my term on the board of directors – which I think has been successful as we have figured out how to balance the budget and keep ourselves out of debt while still paying for the two dead air conditioning units, the broken elevator, and a new full time director of religious education. Our church choir season is also ending for the summer this next weekend. We do a big choir service showing off our greatest hits and then lay off until August sometime.
Along with church endings is the ending of Game of Thrones, the only television show I’ve been devoted to in real time in decades. I had read the books years ago, long before the TV show was announced, and when HBO picked up the series, I made it a point to catch it. They did the story justice with a magnificent cast and an opulent physical production that captured Westeros in all of its beauty and its horror. I know a lot of people were unhappy with the turns of the show in the final season but I’ve gone back to do a rewatch from the beginning (and have gotten up through the end of season 4) and all of the character reversals are absolutely set up by things in earlier seasons that I had forgotten about or misremembered. When something is as long and complex as Game of Thrones is, you tend to remember things from before the way you want to rather than the way they were. I have my beefs with the rapidity of developments in the last season and with there not being enough quiet on the road character development moments, but the arcs make perfect sense if you go back and look at it all from the beginning. I’m going to miss having new episodes to look forward to. Now if George RR Martin will just finish the dang book series. I’m reading Fire and Blood, his history of the Targaryen dynasty at the moment. Not terribly literary but very entertaining.
There’s no particular endings at work. We’re losing a couple of colleagues I’ve worked with for years to other opportunities and life patterns but that’s the way academia always is. In the 21 years I’ve been here at UAB, I have morphed from new kid at the table, to wise old keeper of institutional memory. There’s no one in the clinical arm of geriatrics that predates me anymore. I hate to think what it’ll be like if I work for another ten years. There are a few pieces of my job that I would like to end, but that’s not up to me and depends entirely on where the salary dollars flow.
The other thing that’s currently going on is rehearsal for HMS Pinafore. It will end shortly with performances starting in ten days and closing after three glorious runs on the stage of the Sirote theater at the Alys Stephens Center. Now, we’re definitely in the get the show up on its feet stage. We had a three hour choreography rehearsal tonight which my knees are not forgiving me for. It wouldn’t have been so bad but we’re rehearsing at Samford University and they were closed for the long weekend so there was no A/C in the building for the last three days and it was well into the 80s in there tonight. None of us were moving too quickly by the end of it. We have another week of rehearsal before tech so it should start coming together without too much ado. I’ve worked with a lot of the people in the cast in other projects so it’s old home week in some ways.
I did get one piece of great theatrical news this last week. I was cast in the one white role in the African American play Choir Boy (the original NYC production is up for several Tonys this next week). It’s a new company, Birmingham Black Repertory Theater, with an African American cast and production staff and I am really looking forward to working with everyone and learning from them. It’s been a few years since I’ve had a dramatic part. The last one was Ebenezer Scrooge.
So that’s all the news that’s fit to print. So what’s the trigger? If I had to make a guess, it’s change, whether that be endings or beginnings. I know I’m in an evolutionary process, becoming a different person than I was when I was with Tommy and that requires a certain amount of letting go and faith that things will fall into place. Perhaps that’s why he’s been on my mind. I have to change and the space he occupied will over time be filled with new and different things and I’m feeling that shuffling of psychic energy on some primal level. I guess there’s times when it just happens, and other times when something gets stuck and you have to push yourself in uncomfortable ways, even when you’re not always conscious of what those might be.
Leaving for Europe one month from today. Let the countdown begin!