Since I fell a couple of months ago and spent a week or so in the hospital, I’ve not been in ideal condition. I’ve come up with various complexities that make life more difficult. Just the price you pay, as my character says in a novel I’m writing, for the chance to live for a little while.
Among other bothers, the one that’s surfaced time and again is responsibility. I’ve joked at times that, whatever I do, I feel an almost pathological responsibility. I sorta blame my dad for the excess, walking out on the family when I was two and leaving my mom to feed and raise the kid. I wasn’t able to contribute much at the time to the household except my wails for a trike.
But it hasn’t stopped me from pursuing my deepest desires, which ever since high school have been writing and producing theatre. That’s left lots of debris, not to mention the enrichments. Indeed, I’ve inflicted labors on others much worse than my dad ever did, all in the name of art but severe, and now I’m facing the material result: tons of crap to get rid of. They told us in Boy Scouts to leave your campground cleaner than when you found it. That was easy then, now not so simple.
We’ve been sorting out puppets from nine productions over the years, well over a hundred creatures. We’re not puppeteers; we’ve just used them when we felt it was the best way to tell the story. A museum has agreed to take two; our kids, who don’t have the space, have selected a few bins, and a local arts center has agreed to mount an exhibit in May, all proceeds for sales going to support the center.
But it takes time to label, pack, even recognize whose costume goes with which. That’s been our life between 1 and 2 p.m. for a couple of weeks, and that doesn’t begin to make a dent in the vast array of books and clothing and tools and business files and tchotsckes we’ve accumulated, despite taking six tons of stuff (count’em, six!) to the dump when we left Philadelphia 23 years ago.
I’m just complaining, as artists do—I wouldn’t have lived any other way. Being together for 63 years makes a campground that’s hard to clean up. Fortunately, I can depend on a whole lot of help from my fellow camper, Elizabeth. But still, it’s a hard rain gonna fall. It has for millennia, so we’d better get used to it.