Monday, October 12, 2009

A Walk in the Cemetery

It's been a long time since I wrote in this particular blog...alas. I blog elsewhere as a version of myself, a funny version, and I write in a regular journal with a pen, and I write poems, etc., etc., but lately I've been very busy and not writing about what I'm reading, which is what I mostly intended to do here.

I've been in the cemetery, in fact. As Sarah W. Davis, the wife of David Davis and a contemporary of Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln and Davis rode the circuit together in Illinois--remember those stories about books in Lincoln's saddlebags?--and one season Sarah and her son went along, literally, for the ride! She had 7 children, but only 2 lived to adulthood, and after the loss of one child she took her son George with her to join her husband and Lincoln and spend what today we'd call "quality time" together. When Davis was a judge in Washington, she wrote him many letters. When she and her husband were in Chicago on business in April, 1865, she wrote a letter to her surviving children, telling them that their father would start that night, Easter Sunday, April 16, for Washington to attend to the affairs of the assassinated president. I just performed that letter in Evergreen Cemetery in Bloomington, Illinois, where Sarah is buried.

It was a pretty intense experience--the grief and anger at the loss of our President! Recreated sometimes 16, sometimes 24 times a day, for schoolchildren on field trips or for the general public on weekends. Some days it rained. The last day it was 38 degrees! But audiences came and loved it, as they do every year. This year, all the characters--who are real people buried in the cemetery--had some connection to Lincoln, as it's his 200th birthday. What an honor to work with fellow actors, writers, and museum volunteers who put this event together.

So I've been busy, scattered, and focussed for the past several weeks--preparing for this, finishing up other tasks, and carrying on a normal family and work life.

I've kept reading, I've had thoughts, whole paragraphs have spun out in my head, but....sigh....

More to come.

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