I'm doing a play. One that I did not write myself. I'm doing it at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival. My alma mater. The play is called Every Brilliant Thing, and it's about the son of a mother who suffers from depression. In order to cheer her up, he decides to write a list of everything in the world worth living for. The play speaks to me for several reasons. 1. It's a great piece of writing. 2. While I am fortunate to not suffer from depression, I do have a disease that requires serious treatment. During the days I feel sick I occasionally wonder why I put myself through this. The thoughts are fleeting, but they are there. Luckily for me, the answers come quickly. Jaimie. My family. Jaimie. My friends. Did I mention Jaimie, who is letting me write the blog on our day off?
Besides the people in my life, another reason I do it is my work. I love to write. I love to act. The challenge of creating gets me up every morning, makes me excited about the days. One of the challenges of chemo is when my brain is in a fog and I can't create. I hold on tight until it clears, and trust that eventually it will.
This play is happening in the middle of my treatment. I'll take three days off, come back for an infusion, and then miss a cycle while the play is running. Some people close to me wondered it that was a good idea. But it was the only idea. I don't want to merely survive cancer. I want to thrive in spite of it.
I know I'm not a doctor, but I believe that being happy and doing what I love is healthy. It's good medicine. Theatre might not pay a ton of money, but damn if it isn't one of the brilliant things in the world.
Every Brilliant Thing runs at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival October 5-October 21. Montgomery, AL. Hope to see some of you there!