Every Brilliant Thing
5 November 2021
»You cannot prevent the birds of sorrow from flying over your head,
but you can prevent them from building nests in your hair.«
Macmillan says it is the themes he deals with in his work that enable him to face his own demons and anxiety that pervade our lives now perhaps more than ever. Or, as the poet Ciril Zlobec put it: »Man is an open product; an unfinished being who keeps wondering who or what he is all his conscious life, what he should be, what he cannot be, what he should not be … Thus, he creates his own existential philosophy, based entirely on the experiential moments of our time. It is the most profound and the only philosophy for him.«
In the time matrix that locks us up and scares us away from visible and invisible dangers, we are certainly more prone to addictions, stress, depression, and suicide. The inability to intervene in the mechanism of an apathetic society paralyzes us. As a result, our spiritual as well as physical flight retreats to the sinister reality that is stifling our creative freedom. »Because in order to live in the present we have to be able to imagine a future that will be better than the past,« says the Narrator in the play. But what if depressive syndromes, cognitive disorders, feelings of guilt, inferiority and despair become so overwhelming that one no longer sees a way out? The Narrator, as the author calls the actor in his monopsychodrama Every Brilliant Thing shows us how to find a solution for traumatic life experiences. He tells his own story: at an early age, he began to compile a list of every brilliant thing that makes life worth living. The list was getting longer and more extensive, and it brought about the realization that it would be meaningless to leave and depart too early. He came up with a million. A million things worth living for. The things on the list should be exceptionally wonderful, intangible, and must make life meaningful. A seven-year-old boy’s first entry of ice cream, teenager’s winning something, dancing in private or reading something which articulates exactly how you feel but lacked the words to express it and watching someone watching your favourite film, talking, birds singing, the smell of old books, Nina Simone’s voice … A million.
And if you have a long life and you spend it without feeling terribly depressed at least once, you probably haven’t been paying enough attention.
Nataša Barbara Gračner