Yesterday my friend that passed away earlier this week was laid to rest. It was a nice service, and moving. I think, for me, the most moving moment was when I turned and looked around and saw how many people had filled the church where the service was held. There were so many people that there was not a single spot to sit without crowding. My friend was a man who was well-loved, well-thought of, and a man who had touched and made a difference in all of those lives. There was a moment when one of the men who spoke during the service made a statement that made me think. He said that cancer took my friend’s body but it didn’t take his life. So I kept thinking about that statement yesterday. Life is life and death is death. Death is permanent for the body only, but it is also a beginning. The family he left behind has to begin a new life without this man in it. We don’t know what happens to us after we die but we are told we begin a new life as well. I almost didn’t go to the funeral yesterday because the loss of my dad is still with me, though I can handle it better nowadays. I was worried about being able to sit through this funeral when I didn’t get to go to my dad’s. And now, I’m glad I changed my mind and went. I saw how the life of this man was measured. And if there is life after death, then this man has another beginning, another chance to make a difference. We can only hope to have touched as many people as he has.
I also must mention this because it is staying with me. Thursday night my friend Tracy and I went to see the production of Coriolanus that National Theatre Live showed in U.S. theaters. The actual production ran in London until Thursday which was their last night. However, National Theatre Live did show it live January 30th in theaters throughout the world. Unfortunately, that did not include the U.S. but they are showing Encore shows until March I believe. I highly recommend going to see it if you are able. It was an outstanding performance. Coriolanus is not one of Shakespeare’s more popular plays, which is rather disappointing. But this cast and how they made use of the set were, without a doubt, absolutely gifted, and they made this play a true experience to be a part of. I had read Coriolanus some years ago, and I really liked it. Coriolanus is a man I felt so much compassion for. He was a slave to his mother’s machinations, the Senate’s betrayal, and his own passion, pride and stubbornness (wow, does that hit home with me-I’m not saying I’m stubborn, but I can be rather determined when I want to be), and in the end, though I knew it had to happen, I always hated that he had to die. I felt the same for Hamlet, too, just so we’re clear. Murder and revenge always requires a price, even if done for justice. Coriolanus is such a good play but not one that’s easy to read. Ralph Fiennes and Gerard Butler were in a 2011 film version. Amazon has it available to rent and buy if you are interested. I will say that the cast of the National Theatre Live production were just beyond amazing and I was really pleased to see some faces that I knew from other films and shows that I’ve watched such as Deborah Findlay (Vanity Fair), Mark Gatiss (Game of Thrones, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, not to mention Sherlock), Hadley Fraser (incredibly enough the Fresh Beat Band which my younger kids love-no joke; Les Misérables, but he was an officer in that), Elliot Levey (Jason and the Argonauts, Sex & the City, and Robin Hood-last two are tv), and Helen Schlesinger (Merlin-tv; Persuasion-film). And, lest we forget, Tom Hiddleston who led the cast as Coriolanus, and was really incredibly convincing as Coriolanus even though it’s a part meant for someone a little older. Those were just the faces I recognized, but the other cast members deserve recognition as well for they were all so good. And it’s another ending with new beginnings for all the cast members and the people who worked on that production. I hope they go on to bigger and better things because they truly were fantastic.
Another ending that has happened is my knees are finally better. The beginning this means for me is that I can get back outside and start running again soon. I didn’t get to do that today though I did get to walk and test how my knees would react to that. It was so good. I’ve been feeling a little anxious and like I’m wasting time or not doing something I know I should be doing. It felt so good to get out and just be outside. I felt like a caged bird that had been set free. And to top it off, today was also my writing group meeting. I had uploaded some items for critique and I was overwhelmed and thrilled with the responses I received. My family and friends have all told me that I write well and that I have talent, but in some part of your mind you think that they are just being biased because they care about you. When you are told that you have something good by people who don’t know you, who don’t have an investment in you, and who are professionals and have their own agendas, well, you feel validation. It felt really good to be told that I touched them through my writing. I was especially surprised at the reaction from this one piece I submitted. It was a brief story I call An Interlude. It’s a vignette, I suppose you could say. It’s a man’s view of a woman he runs into. I didn’t mean to write it from a man’s perspective, considering I am a woman. But it wanted to be written the way it has been. What I am terribly thrilled about is that the three men in the group that were there today were moved by that one story. I submitted some poetry and a few other stories, all short, but it was this one that touched them. The best compliment for me came from one man who said that I had gotten into a man’s head. They were moved by some of the imagery I used, and I loved hearing which parts moved each of these men. It was actually also very humbling. Women love romance but I think we forget that men do as well, though they are not vocal about it. It’s not something we as women think about because we are more self-centered in that respect. But men do enjoy romance, if it’s written in such a way that moves them. Maybe not all men, although I hope I’m wrong on that point. The fact that I wrote something that touched a man’s heart, that moved him, yeah…that’s a great feeling and one I’m holding in my heart. I was also told that I should consider continuing this piece and that they would like to hear from the woman in the story as well. That was a big surprise. It means these people want to know more about these characters who have no names, no backgrounds, no life yet besides this one moment in a story. They want to be invested in these characters because these two entities captured their hearts briefly. I have no words to describe my feelings about that. Just pure pleasure and joy that I did that. It’s almost hard to believe. So, I’m going to work on this couple’s story though I have no idea about either of them. We’ll see how their beginning ends and how their ending begins. It will be an interesting journey. Maybe its the beginning of my first book. Won’t that be a fun adventure?