Vaclav Havel died this morning. It was a Vaclav Havel play that set me on my path. I was working on Temptation at the College of Wooster in 1995. Nothing else was going well in my life at that time, but that play was the most exciting art I’d ever been involved in. The theatre turned into my sanctuary and that hasn’t changed since.
I posted the text of a particularly memorable letter that Havel wrote to his wife, Olga, in 1981, while in prison, to my Scribbleboxing site. It starts like this:
As you know, I’m an inveterate planner and master of ceremonies, and so you can imagine in what incredible detail I construct my sweet fantasies, such as how I’ll go to the sauna, combine it with swimming in the pool and sunbathing, then go home for a snooze, then in the evening put on some nice clothes and go wit you to a good restaurant, and I imagine all the things we’ll eat and drink there etc. etc. When I think about it, all such daydreams have one thing in common: sooner or later, a disturbing question always arises: what then? What next? For the time must come, after all, when – figuratively speaking – I will have swum enough, preened myself enough, eaten enough, slept enough; when I will no longer want to indulge in those delights any more, yet my life will clearly be far from over, and it will be high time – especially after all that – to breathe some meaning and substance into it.
I encourage you to read this rest.