Update: “Proteus Rising”

I seek inspiration and encouragement constantly. Doctor Who is one of those inspirations, one of those encouragements.

An update and a few statements.

The last time you humored me and checked out this cyberwordspace, I was imploring the cosmos at large for a home.  Not for me, but for a story.

I didn’t do it for myself, not at first.  I did it for a friend.  Then I was abandoned.  Not cool or perfect enough.  That friendship, that trust, is gone.

All I’ve got left… is a story.  And dreams, like people, should belong somewhere.

I didn’t think it would happen.  But I found a place.

McMinnville, Oregon.  In the heart of Oregon’s wine country.

Saturday May 14th at 2pm, the Willamette Radio Workshop will perform “Proteus Rising” live on stage at the McMenamins Hotel Oregon, as part of the 12th Annual McMinnville UFO Festival.

I don’t have the words to describe how great this show is going to be.  Talented professionals with experience in stage, screen, and sound are the backbone of WRW.  I work with them often and, well, basically they’re all friends of mine.  At the very least, they don’t burst out laughing at the first sight of me.  So to be fair, personal bias could inform my appraisal.  But the sizes of their audiences and the cross-generational appeal removes all doubt.

But on top of all that, many of them are fans — many more than I expected.  An impetuous, tongue-in-cheek query over pre-Super Bowl brunch has regenerated into another draft of the script and reports of enthusiasm from the group.

They can do it.  They know how to do it.  And they don’t merely want to — they’re freakin’ out.  Or so they’re telling me!

Now here’s the real point.  Hope.  The point of this story.  Of writing.  Of blogging.  Of voicing your thoughts and sharing links in cyberspace.  It’s all self-expression.  You have to share it.   So out it comes.

It’s also communication.  You don’t know who you’re talking to.  Not really.  Therefore you never know what response you’re going to get in return.  Maybe someone lays down a snark or a cheap shot.  Maybe someone accuses you of preaching to the choir.   You can’t affect any real change doing what you’re doing.

But the real value of writing, of any art, comes when someone else really needed that thought — that voice — to come from you.  This world can be a long, hard ride.  And it’s not always easy to clear one’s mind of the many loud voices all slagging you, criticizing you, telling you lies.  So when you write something or post something, and someone else gets it, suddenly you’re connected.  You’re not alone.  You needed that little bit of reinforcement, of validation.

We shouldn’t have to fit in.  We should belong.

Conformity, making oneself less so the collective can become more, is not belonging.  It’s neither improving, maturing, strengthening, or nurturing.  It’s using perfection as a blunt instrument, pounding the vulnerable and the unique into a convenient shape, something easy for the weak-minded to absorb.  It’s breaking a runner’s legs to keep everyone in lock-step.  And of course ee cummings said it better and it’s a cliche now, but the truth remains.  It’s a bitch to be yourself.  And even when you master it, the collective breaks you the first chance it gets and forces you to start over.

That’s the point.  The point of “Proteus Rising.”  Of writing.  Of anything we do that says, “This is me.”  You’re using your voice.  Testing the waters.  Putting yourself out there.

We take the dive with ever changing mixtures of courage and false bravado.  Even the so-called experts.  Even Olivier puked his guts out before every show.  So when someone busts your chops — I mean, knocks you down hard — knowing that someone else relates to you, knowing they like the way you transmit things to them and that they want you to, sometimes it’s the only thing helping you pick yourself off the ground.

For much of my life, I’ve been asked why I write.  I write to keep sane.  To stay myself.  But now I see:  Maybe I’m helping someone else stay sane, to retain his or her own identity.  Something I said resonated.  And that was enough to make the soul-killing lies of a false world ring hollow again.  When you preach to the choir, it can be forgiven — if you make the church bells of the world ring properly once again.

But that won’t happen if you give in to the silence.  If you submit to despair.

It’s not easy.  I fight despair all the time.  I take meds for it.  I seek inspiration and encouragement constantly.  Doctor Who is one of those inspirations, one of those encouragements.

All my life, people have told me not to write. To give up on my talents or my beliefs.  To be less smart or more smart.  To be less ugly, to be more rich.  To be perfect.  To be a drone like everyone else.  To be seen instead of heard, to give in and join the silence.

Now the silence swallows me up like a whale.  Some days, I barely speak.  So I write.  I blog.  I post links.  I preach to the choir.

And somewhere out there, the lies ring hollow for someone other than myself.

And one day soon, for an hour, someone else will hear the groan of ancient engines.

True, we’ll be surrounded by folks in tinfoil.  But I won’t be alone.  And neither will they.

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