by Esther Emery
Need some inspiration today? I do. Here’s HopeREVO.
This love-gathering, hope-disseminating site was launched about six months ago. When I first found it (via Elaine at wannabehippie) I was perched at my computer with my feet under me on my chair in a pose I like to call “treeless bird.” My first play was in rehearsals and I was constantly making adjustments to the script in what felt like a righteous onslaught against personal mediocrity. Milo was five months old, I was barely pulling off a one act for the Playwrights Project between traveling to grad school interviews on the other side of the country and, for some inexplicable reason, simultaneously directing an eight-person ensemble piece at a theatre an hour’s commute from my house.
And then Heath Ledger died.
Maybe I wouldn’t have noticed it at all, except that I had just worked a genuinely funny Heath Ledger/Casanova joke into that wonky “getting to know you” scene at the beginning of Rhubarb. Delicia called me. “Did you hear?”…”Yes, of course, of course we should cut it.” Of course we should cut the funniest thing I’ve written in months. I felt that flash of anger that occurs when you feel helpless and the world keeps moving anyway.
On that day I didn’t stop to think about Heath Ledger as a person, but Krystyn of HopeREVO did. Here’s the rest of her day:
This morning as I sat in a coffeehouse off Broome, something caught my eye under the artwork on the wall. Tucked under a painting I found a postcard that read:
Don’t fall victim to the space stealers. Oust the scum of our streets. They are wasting valuable oxygen. Scare them off into the sewers where they belong.
We’ve all seen messages like this. Sometimes they’re handwritten, like this one was. Sometimes they’re implicit in media coverage of events real and imagined. Sometimes they’re tucked away in a person’s body language or the way they address a stranger or a friend. We ignore them because we don’t agree with them. Sometimes we ignore them because we do.
Krystyn goes on:
Something about today has shaken me up. I can’t put my finger on it. It’s not the note, it’s not that I’m sad someone I don’t know is dead. Or maybe I am. Maybe I’m sad at the idea that someone could just…give up. Lose hope. I know I’ve been there many times myself, and it’s a scary place.
I think tomorrow I will make some of my own notes and tuck them under paintings in coffeehouses.
So she did.
And others did.
I love to imagine these hope guerillas, dropping their bombs of positive thinking in places where a message of hope is least expected.
It reminds me to ask what message my next production will carry to its audience. What handwritten note is tucked into the corners of my work? In fact, I’m dedicating this post to the artist I was six months ago, who was short on the precious mind space it takes to ask these questions.
I hope I say this:
“Dare to see yourself in others.”
“You are a member of the human race.”
“You are not alone.”
What about you?