I never really post anything personal, but today is a different day. One of my favorite actors, Robin Williams, has passed away. Even though his lines were scripted, he was still able to convey their meanings in a raw, believable manner. After watching his performance in the Dead Poets Society in my first high school english class, my life changed a little bit. It’s cliché, but true. His speech about poetry inspired me to change; to stop doing the things that others expected or wanted me to do; to stop being a follower. I realized that in order to be happy I needed to start doing the things I love because those are the things that make life worth living.
I usually struggle to find the perfect song for my YouTube videos. Never did I think I would use a sound clip. However, after my senior year spring break trip to the Great Smoky Mountains, this speech seemed the only logical option.
While there, I took an impromptu trip to the border of Tennessee and North Carolina to a beautiful outlook over the vast mountainscape. I happened upon a marker with a few passages about the Smokies and a map showing where, exactly, we were. Those three words, outlined in black, You Are Here, struck me in a deeply profound way at a crossroads in my life. In denial, with the end of college only weeks away, I felt sure of myself for the first time in a long while. I was there at that time and in that moment. It was the only thing that mattered. I felt alive.
We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race and the human race is filled with passion. Medicine, law, business, engineering, these are all noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, “O me! O life! … of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?” Answer: That you are here - that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?
Rest in peace to a wonderful comedian and brilliant actor whose verse will never be forgotten.