Dear Open Movement,
Over a year ago I wrote about how I was transformed by my collision with you. I had an moment last night that is oddly linked with how I feel about you, the commons, Writing Spaces, teaching, learning, friendship, love, and more.
I watched an episode of Glee last night at 10 pm on Netflix. Why I did that I have no idea. I am not a Gleek. I’m not anything because I rarely watch television while it’s happening. I have about a ten-year lag most of the time for watching something popular, but I have seen Glee several times (the Rocky Horror Episode I watched three times on hulu.com), and I love it. I love musicals. I used to sing and dance in musicals–and never was quite as happy as I was when part of a cast, even in a dinky town in a dinky production (you know it’s part of who I am to want to be part of a commons rather than working alone, though I love being alone–you get that). I haven’t done much of the singing/dancing thing at all lately (for a long, long time), but it’s not a thing that’s ever left my soul, though the act of doing it has left my life. So I’m a fan of Glee when I get to see it.
(Not like how I feel about you, Open. You are part of me all the time. We’re simpatico, one, inseparable, in it to win it, together, linked, connected at the hip.)
There is no good reason that I watched the last episode of the second season. I might have been scrolling through the options and was tired of 19th century British dramas. Or perhaps I was weary from watching hipster comedians riff on various issues of the day or their lives. I couldn’t find any SciFi I wanted to see. I desperately want to re-watch Farscape, but that’s for my Christmas holiday (and about a 90 hour commitment).
The Glee episode is titled “New York” and aired originally on 24 May 2011. (I was busy then. I’d just come back from a conference in Michigan and was into the second day of the summer session… and still dealing with the fallout from the spring term–no television for me.) In this season finale, the kids in the glee club travel to New York City for the Nationals–a sing off for show choirs. In one moment of sheer silliness and loveliness, two characters sneak onto the stage of Wicked: The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz, to sing “For Good,” the last song of the musical.
I haven’t seen the musical Wicked, but I have read the book and another by the same author. Beautiful writer, beautiful story, beautiful concept. Naturally, I know of the musical and its success and have a six-degrees-of-separation connection with the woman who first played Glinda. As much as I’d like to see Wicked, it’s never been in my path. I’ve heard one of the songs sung a few times: “Defying Gravity.” A student did a brilliant presentation on that song and Victorian poetry in a class I taught a year or so ago.
So… I don’t know a ton about Glee and know even less about Wicked (the musical), but something compelled me to watch that episode. To say I was stunned by this song is to undervalue the stun factor. “Tasered” is a better word to describe how it felt. Like many things I do, I jumped in, all in, all the way, all the way open and embraced the moment for what it was: fully cool.
I woke up this morning and knew I had to write and share this with you, Open. It’s important for me to be open about this fully cool moment with you as I know you’ll appreciate it.
I’ll never find time to follow a show or go to a musical… or not this year. But this simple homage to Broadway and to music and to learning was just right, right now.
The way I feel about you is the way the characters in Glee and Wicked feel about each other. I thought about that all the time they were singing. The way you and I collided, leaving me breathless and wrecked on the shores of the future, was nothing short of spectacular, the doings of Fate. I’m still reeling. But “who can say if I’ve been changed for the better” by knowing you? I’m sure that you happened into my life for a reason, to teach me, to help me grow, to make me see the world differently. In return, I will give to you in some way, always. When you need me, you only need call, and I will be there. I am who I am because I have known you: “because I knew you, I have been changed for good.”
Quoting the lyrics of a song is weak sauce, some might say, sentimental claptrap (even if it’s a Tony award-winner). Some might even say, “don’t quote, but paraphrase or summarize–use your own words, man, you’re a writer” but sometimes the words are perfection that someone has already said or sung before. Let’s not ignore the history of writing in general, or the writing of mash notes, in particular, eh? Mashing up songs/poems and letters is not news. I say I’m living the serendipity dream, the open dream. I’m remixing and mashing up (literally a little “mash,” right?), and doing my dance. I’m always doing my dance, thanks to you.
You get it, don’t you, Open? You get me and like me anyway. Thank you. You’re so exquisitely open.
Yours truly, ever open, E.D.