Last night we saw A Little More Than You Wanted To Spend, a funny, sad one-man show with and by Chris Clavelli about the death of his 6-year old son Jess.
Life is a total crap shoot. You get shit. You get joy. You live. You die. Other people live and die too.
You have to talk about it. You have to write about it. You have to tell about it. You have to live it. You have to make something, maybe theater, out of it.
The sucky part, sometimes, is living on and getting up when you feel like curling up in bed and not getting up.
Taking the garbage out last night with my daughter Charlotte, one of our neighbors, a former Hollywood starlet from the 1950s (and this is not even giving her away because we have several senior actresses in our building), asked me, “How’s your boyfriend?” or something like that.
Charlotte looked at me quizzically.
“He’s doing good,” I said, about my husband. “He’s got a great creative spirit. Is directing a show upstate this summer.
The former starlet said, “He’s wonderful. He’s got a twinkle in his eye and great artistry despite the tragedy of his life.”
We said good bye at the recycling bin.
“What did she say?” Charlotte asked. “The what of his life?”
“The tragedy. I suppose, she meant the tragedy of his Parkinson’s diagnosis,” I told my daughter.
I don’t think of my husband Chris’s life as a tragedy.
This is not the first time a neighbor has used stark terms to refer to my husband’s disease in front of my kids. I guess, in the dailiness of life, the reality of Chris’s illness is not a tragedy, it’s normal.
It is not always a comedy, but tragedy? I don’t know. Chris feels he is lucky. He feels there are worse diagnoses.
This is the second time I’ve seen Clavelli’s play. It’s blown me away. Made me laugh and cry.
I am friends with Clavelli, and his girlfriend Leonisa, who funnily enough, was my work out buddy at my former workplace, before she and Clavelli got together.
The play reminded me to hug my darlings, to love the people in my life, to laugh and cry with them, to talk about truths, to listen to other people’s truths, to make art.
When someone tells their truth, I can’t argue or judge. Hearing someone’s truth makes me want to tell my truth. Because, I know, making art is a way of healing.
Life is a tragic-comedy.
Any way, go see Clavelli’s show. It’s really good. It’s only running in June in NYC.
Beauty in Tragedy, The Poem (writingsofamrs.wordpress.com)