Mac and Cheese

There are some really good blogs out there. I want to say that because I wrote a blog a year or so ago talking about how many bad blogs there are, but if you can get in a circle of blogs written by writers, you can have some pretty happy reading for an hour a day.

I came across this line this morning; “I jammed my finger over the weekend.” I assumed the writer meant that she could no longer remember the weekend, because she had forcefully placed her finger over the memory. I was wrong, but still… awesome.

I saw “The Designated Mourner” with a group of my friends the other day. I went because my friend Mac is a Wallace Shawn fan, and I’m a big fan of Mac. He’s written a really good analysis of the evening.

I have been doing these exercises that are supposed to help, y’know, my body and everything, but I still get terrible pain in my knees, especially when sitting. The chairs in the theater were jammed together, God bless my friends Jon and Ehren who are both about 6 foot 5 and were sitting with us. In order to save my knees, I was practicing what my personal trainer calls “dynamic sitting”.

Except that about half an hour in, I wasn’t thinking about it. I was terrified, I was enthralled, I was basted and kiln fired. This play is just magnificent. I guess it helps that they rehearsed it for four years, but it is *transporting*.

And later, much later for me, I thought back on it and I wanted it to have had a clear purpose. I want it to be an allegory, for it to speak out for or against something because it is so powerful, I want it to have direction. If this play had led me somewhere intellectually, I would now be there. If it had told me that gay marriage was wrong, that the war was justifiable, that the death penalty was necessary, I would have had my mind changed.

But what is only occuring to me now is that we can’t expect real answers to come in packages of such extreme passion. As intellectually harrowing as this play is, it serves to communicate one tiny journey in the mind of one tiny man, and because he speaks for us, because he says things you’ve only said quietly in whispers to no-one before shushing yourself, because he says things that are true in this time in America where lying is the new black, I want him to tell me how to feel about all these other things that are confusing.

I often quote my friends and family because I feel like when words come from other people they are more legitimate. I’ve even attributed things I’ve said to other people in order to lend them legitimacy, but what comes to mind here is a moment in one of Mac’s plays, one of his best called Mercurial. A playwright is arguing with a software developer, and he is asked if he really believes that a play can change the world. I’m probably paraphrasing here, but the character says “Plays don’t change nations, but they do change hearts, and hearts change nations.”

I don’t know. But I’m close to believing it. I’ve felt that more than the ephemeral nonsense my religious friends have described.

Uh, do I need permission to quote Mac?