"Undead. Dead...but not dead."
by one of my favorite artists, Natalie Shau
I've started rehearsals for my next play, today is day three. This play is so layered, so rich. Really beautiful. Yesterday a line jumped out at me and I've been pondering it since. In a nutshell, the play takes place over one afternoon/evening where a family is getting ready to throw a party for their grandma and they speculate if the father the two adult children haven't seen in twenty years will be there. I play the wife to the son. In a series of scenes that are both real time as well as fantasies, we get many different glimpses into the versions of their father as they imagine him to be now and what it would be like to confront/rekindle/ask their questions/tell him how they feel.
In one scene he is imagined in a vampire costume and when asked if he's dead he replies, "undead. Dead but not dead." When this line was discussed there were so many meanings and all seemed very much correct. He's in the vampire getup to be imagined as looking foolish/because he's sucked the life out of the family/because he's had the life sucked out of him/etc. There was much more but I can't remember them all. What struck me, was the fact that I'd literally just described losing a person (and not because they've actually died) in your life as a death.
Obviously as I've been writing my "New York Diaries" I've had a lot resurface through the last few months. I've slowly begun to learn more about why I was attached to people I was attached to, what role September 11th played, what has changed over the last decade and surprisingly what hasn't changed. I consider blogging about it the bare bones, the timeline. Expanding it into a book will be a different beast. But right now what I can say is that obviously it was the time of greatest impact...yet it's a time I'm so far away from. When I write it, I feel as though I'm living two timelines at once. They're almost happening to me simultaneously, viscerally, yet I can't go back to those places or talk to so many of those people.
It's almost a mind fuck as I work on the NY Diaries project. I know they're out there, they're just no longer a part of my life. I can only speculate what life is for them now. I can remember, I can romanticize but I can't pick up a phone or send a message or bump into them on the street. So very much as the characters do in this particular play, I can only imagine my versions of those I once knew, and what it would be like to run into them now.
It's like some of those people who seem so alive in my story are the undead. They're dead but not dead. They can't be here, but they're out there. Very much alive, but not able to be...or maybe even meant to be in my life. Bitter sweet. Life is so funny. It's amazing that whatever you're going through at any given moment will shape both what you hear and the way you interpret.
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