Sunday, February 25, 2007

"Emotional practice"

Sudden Death
What Bridge to Terabithia still teaches us.
By Emily Bazelon
SLATE Thursday, Feb. 22, 2007, at 6:38 PM ET

Spoiler alert: This piece gives away the ending of Bridge to Terabithia.

Thanks, Henrik.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Smaller world

"I've been a huge Chicago Public Radio junkie lately. They're playing a lot of radio plays and new music shows. Today I woke up for my ritualistic noon dose of This American Life. Afterwards, they played a radio play called "I Hate This (a play without the baby)," a one-man show by David Hansen which chronicles his and his wife's experience of having a stillborn child ... "(more)

Sibling Rivalry

Zelda has a subscription to NWF's Your Big Backyard magazine. Today the March issue arrived, the featured animal was (you guessed?) an otter. Big ol' otter photo on the front. "You OTTER love this issue!" it says.

I packed Orson in the car to pick Z. up from school, and brought the magazine to share with her. "Want see otter!" Orson shouts, and so I hand him the magazine ... and he promptly tears the cover neatly in half.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Transcending Pain, a Friendship Fed on Imagination
- NY Times review of "Bridge to Terabthia" 02/16/07
"Consistently smart and delicate as a spider web, “Bridge to Terabithia” is the kind of children’s movie rarely seen nowadays. And at a time when many public schools are being forced to cut music and art from the curriculum, the story’s insistence on the healing power of a nurtured imagination is both welcome and essential ... (more)

Okay, so maybe I spoke too soon. Not that the kids are old enough to see this ... but maybe I am. Whew.

It's hard to share why this book was so important to me when I first read it in 5th grade without giving away the ending. What I will say (SPOILER WARNING) is that it was my first truly emotional connection with death. Which makes me feel awful, because my grandmother had died a year or two earlier, and I had little or no connection to that.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Echoes of '78

It's going to have to continue much longer for there to be any comparison, but I have to tell you getting home last night from TEMPEST rehearsals was just stupid. For me it was a test of my East Side geography, and I passed the test. Every time I encoutnered some kind of log-jam, I would take a detour, each one more successful than the last.

Carnegie was backed up to East 55th, so I ducked onto Euclid. I could see that my normal routes, up MLK to Cedar Hill, or up Little Italy, were entirely backed up, and would remain so. I wasn't going home until a little after seven (they called rehearsal early because of the stuff) and yet I imagined poor homegoers, locked in on Mayfield at the top of the hill, sitting there for hours.

I kept heading down Euclid into East Cleveland (it all opened up once I got past Case) and took Forest Hills. Meanwhile, my wife had gotten rear-ended after pulling off the road to scrape accumulating ice off the windshield. The force knocked her down, and she took the wiper with her. Luckily she was unharmed - and so were the kids, inside the car. I got all this news from my cellphone, inside my car, trying to get home.

Everyone is trying to take it easy today. Schools are closed, my office is closed, I was told not to attend afternoon rehearsal, but I will be going out in it tonight. Hope the roads are clear.

Monday, February 12, 2007


Uhm ... was it just me, or didn't some kind of big report come out last week announcing that the world was going to end in fifty years?

I mean, the world won't end, but our place in it. Those cities not underwater will be in the same state as New Orleans - rich people with guns rebuilding and everyone else s.o.l.? I mean, wasn't that this gist of the announcement?

And since then, I have to admit, I have done nothing. Yes, yes, I have been replacing every burned out bulb with a nifty new flourescent, but I haven't started taking the bus yet. Neither, from what I can see, has anyone else.

Is someone going to take care of this for us?

Sunday, February 11, 2007

"Just another victim ..."

Shame on me. Thoughtless. I try not to post without editing but that was dumb. Obviously it has been sticking with me for months.

We're all victims of something, and I guess it's what you do with your personal hell that defines you. For some actions are very personal, they work on the family-level, the spiritual level. I have a tendency to broadcast and I can't help that. I have been doing it since before I could remember, since I could type or learned to use the cassette recorder.

I recently re-read I, Trissyby Norma Fox Mazer (a startling, eye-opening book from my fifth grade year, just behind Bridge to Terabithiawhich it seems Disney is geared to entirely f*ck up) which exposed me not only to the horrors of divorce, about which I was ignorant. Of course, my two best friends' parents had split a few years earlier, but it took a book to know what they were going through.

It also had the effect of making me feel I had the right to type anything I felt like, any way I felt like, the right to say whatever I felt about anyone, even people I care about. I should have used Harriet the Spyas my bible, I may have learned a tip or two about discretion.

All these books are about intelligent, independent girls. Hmn.

Lately I have fallen in to a sizeable malaise. Blame the weather, everyone's health (but mine) the fact that I am "between projects," what have you. It has gotten me running again, at any rate. Rehearsals for THE TEMPEST begin on Tuesday, we'll see where that takes me.

A great deal of effluvia has been seeping through my brain over actions of the past seven years. A seven-year stink? How odd. But seriously, a rush of images and songs have been coming at me from Year 2000 to the present. And part of that (though not all) tie in to the boy, and where his existence has taken me, has taken us.

I could not sit still and just feel these things, I had to write about them, and having written about them, I had to share them, and having shared them, I needed to broadcast them as far as possible. This used to mean the ends of the living room. Now they go a bit farther.

I have three gigs coming up in the next few months. This spring will take us to a performance here in town, and a week or so later we should be traveling to Louisville, KY. And then ten days in Britain - the schuled is embryonic, but this time in June I may be performing I HATE THIS in London, Cornwall, Northern Ireland and Scotland. Never been to most of those places.

But again, this reflection on the past seven years. It all made me sad. Made me feel old. I have always said I enjoy perfomring this play because it keeps me close to Calvin.

I am beginning to worry that it is keeping me trapped in 2001.

As the present conflicts so harshly with that past, I have begun to rethink the show, and whether or not I should continue presenting it. The mission is still important, and so, frankly, is the money. But I've never really thought of what it has done to me, and whether or not I need to take a break, and permanently.

I had thought all of these things through last week, when I got this email:

Hello David,
(Our mutual friend) mentioned your play to me in our playwrights' group and I listened to the (radio) version. I think it would be great for med students at Xxxxxxx Xxxxxxx University or the general support group. I am in the Dept of Bioethics and Humanities at XXU. What would it take to bring you here?
Xxxx Xxxxxx MD

And so I told him what it would take. Because I can't let go.