Thursday, April 21, 2016

Like Robin Williams

AS I grow older, I gravitate more to a quieter, less interactive life. I have become more conscious of how my spoken words—passion, intensity, sentiment, reflex and response cut through to the other person—as opposed to my written words that are mostly directed to humanity at large than a singular human being. I now can understand why Henry David Thoreau sought solace in the woods, JD Salinger (and many writers) opted to be recluse, Edgar Allan Poe and Jackson Pollock took to drinking, and Kurt Cobain and Ernest Hemingway simply gave up altogether. It is the fear of hurting people, of being condemned abusive or tyrannical or egoistic and self-centered, of being the reason for people's misery. It is very weird to be feeling that way when you're supposed to be smart, wise, loving, and “older.”

          I SAW a movie that was one of Robin Williams' last before he caved in and passed away. It is about an older man who couldn't quite deal with his anger—that even expressing love to his own son didn't manifest the way he hoped it would because anger got in the way. And I thought the real Mr Williams was the lovable comic who made us all laugh than cry, calmed us down than infuriate us—and then, he took his life. All along he was a very tormented, depressed man. He gave up maybe because he thought, in actual life, making people laugh or happy isn't as easy as it seems—that going away is much more peaceful and liberating than getting angry or forever tied with medications to control his emotions or alcohol to numb it?
          PARADOX of life—a life that is supposed to be a gift and blessing, to some it is such a bitter pill to swallow sometimes. Many years ago, when I was in high school, I saw a movie with an intriguing dream sequence that explored action/interaction, reflex and response. The scene inferred that a person who responds to anger with a soft voice of acceptance delivered in words of wisdom is what we should be aiming for. A person, who after being cussed at or even slapped in the face, would just go, “It's okay for cursing at me—that is part of your inner voice like love and compassion. I only see love inside you than hatred. Go and think deeper, and if you decide to talk again, I am here for you.” I mean, who wants to be that very pacified and forgiving person—unless he/she's an $85/hour shrink or $313/hour attorney? I am hardly paid to listen to rage and drama with a notepad and pen on my hand yet I kind of did almost the same job as creative writing teacher and theater arts facilitator to a diverse group of students—from prison inmates to widows of war, from inner city at-risk kids to recovering drug addicts, and individual friends who had to wrestle with all kinds of psychological torment and emotional agony. Many times it feels better to be on the receiving end, whether the anger is directed at me or not—than the jerk who gives or delivers it.
         MY spoken words have become so redundant and drained, and these all bounce back like rubber balls to my face. Hence, it is more relieving and comforting, and yes—spiritual, to seek solace in silence and just let the anger break into smithereens within and find their redemption on paper. Once the words are out there, no confused cacophony of human sounds to deliver them—take it or leave it, feel good about it or just ignore it. Nothing personal... Indeed, a writer's work is never done. We write because we need to live this life, and try not to drown in a tempest of unrelenting human flaw such as anger. We write because we want to love and not hate, and more importantly—we write because we don't want to give up. 
         LIKE Robin Williams. 

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