Friday, August 21, 2009
RIP Jakey the Cat
Yes. I did promise to start keeping up with the blog. But life decided to throw me a painful curve. My beautiful kitty Jake got killed by coyotes last Friday. A window was accidentally left open, and, well, you get the idea.
I was shocked by the intensity of the grief I experienced over this loss. I felt physically ill. I couldn’t stop sobbing. Couldn’t eat or sleep. It was like an orgy of grief. I felt surrounded by a solid mass of pain that I couldn’t escape, I was eating it and breathing it. Like drowning in sand. That stage, thankfully, is finally over and now I just feel sad. But friends, I will share some potentially uncomfortable truth with you. Being an actor and a writer, a part of me watched my reaction and took notes.
I know, it sounds mercenary, heartless, uncaring, and it is with a certain sense of shame that I even admit it. But I think it’s very important. Because I’m sure I’m not alone.
Let me assure you that I could not have loved this little guy more. I was one of those freaky cat-lover ladies. I doted on him. My friends got sick of hearing me go on-and-on about him. But, I’m an actor though and through. My job is to be able to reproduce humanity. I had not experienced this level of grief before. I’ve had roles where this state was required, and I imagined it, but now I know first hand.
Yes, just like in the movies, I dropped to my knees. Yes, just like in the movies, I cried “no no no” over and over and made keaning sounds while clutching my chest.
For me, part of the many blessings of being an artist, is that it gives me a place to place all the pain and happiness I experience in my very human life and use it to bring life to the characters I play.
I know that part of why people go to the theater and watch films and TV is to see themselves; to see their own life’s hopes, dreams and sorrows acted out. And by living along with the actors they can experience what Aristotle called catharsis, and can find relief by a shared humanity.
So as actors, writers, and human beings, as hard as it can be, we can welcome whatever life brings us, whether pain or joy, because of course that is our artistic material, it is our paint and ink, we use it to draw our lives.