“All the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts.” Shakespeare.
As I ready myself for the last weekend of my stage presence, I think of how this past week my life seems to imitate art in various forms. On stage its improvisation (my life making it up as I go along). At one point I’m Louise the wife of Gilbert Jonas the painter. Louise is dedicated to her man and his craft, until she too develops her own craft: mothering and housekeeping. When I first read Albert Camus’ “The Artist at Work,” in which this stage adaption originated, I was awed at how it paralleled my own life as an artist, not a mother.
Like Jonas, the painter, I am a writer dedicated to my art, but in the midst of the creation have to juggle family, friends, finances and “disciples.” Disciples who want to tell you what to do, versus follow your thought pattern. And through balancing the demands of life, you learn, give back, lose yourself, and believe you are alone. Jonas did, although he was not. Despite rejection, after rejection in my writer’s life, I am not alone in this feat. Now I am just playing a different part.
Many times I think of exiting this stage: “writer;” but then I read a story or essay that replicates my own life, and I understand how important merely being a player is. Ironically, I’ve just read James Baldwin’s short story “Sonny’s Blues” for the fourth time and upon completion of this analysis not only was I the narrator, I was also the writer. Baldwin’s story, written in 1957, simulated my latest essay “The Last Eight Months,” published in The Truth About the Fact: International Journal of Literary Nonfiction. One sibling’s internal conflict when they flashback to moments when a brother or sister reached out and because of their own judgment turned a deaf ear. Sonny became a jazz musician and suffered. His brother, seven years older, became an algebra teacher and suffered. My sister stayed in the family business and suffered. I, five years older, became a writer and suffered. Yet through the suffering we come to a realization about ourselves and others.
That realization is no more than exiting and entering pattern of life. So, if you get a chance peruse Camus’ “T he Artist at Work,” and Baldwin’s “Sonny’s Blues.”