Just having spent a lovely afternoon out with my children, I came home, made snacks for them both, and filled a tall glass of ice with water and lime. And then I saw something on twitter that made my heart sink.
Just so completely shocked to just hear of Robin Williams death that I felt a strong urge to put pen to paper but that takes too long so that’s why I blog…
One of my first thoughts was “But who’s going to make us laugh and cry like he did?”
No mockery please. To make people laugh, cry, shout in anger… to make people simply feel something at all…to be able to evoke emotions that connect us on a basic human element is no small feat.
And sadly, it seems far too often those among us most blessed with this unique talent are often the ones most haunted by demons that drive them to seek escape via addictions that more often than any of us would like, lead to death, intentional or not.
After Philip Seymour Hoffmans death, I read an article in which someone close to him remarked that in every movie, he gave so much to each role, that in doing so he lost a part of himself because of it. It was remarked that as talented as he was, he was his own worst critic, the master of self-loathing.
My love affair with Robin Williams began as a child when I first discovered Mork and Mindy. I think I drove everyone in my family nuts with the penchant for saying ” Nanu nanu” in greeting, instead of the more mundane hello.
However, I truly fell in love with his work as an actor when as a young woman about to graduate from high school- who wrote copious amounts of everything, including poetry-I saw Dead Poets Society.
I’d read the book, and already had emblazoned in my minds eyes how professor John Keating talked, walked etc, as each of us do who read profusely. I was thrilled with how Robin Williams portrayed the professor! Ecstatic at his inspirational readings to a group of disenchanted young men, I leapt from the couch when he roused them all to higher aspirations and explorations of both great poets and passions alike. Carpe Diem, my lads, seize the day, live your passion!
To a young woman feeling out of place at the time for my love of all things literary in a northern forestry town, the movie was timely and his performance roused feelings in me that I’ve never lost. He was that good and my passion for reading, writing,exploring and feeling was set for life.
Good Will Hunting, Awakenings, The Fisher King… the list is so long and I have seen every single one,and I passed the love onto a new generation via Jumanji, and Hook. When the youngest are old enough, perhaps I can persuade them to humour me long enough to experience the inspiration or degradation of the human spirit in all it’s movie greatness or sorrow with me.
Why do I love Robin Williams so much?
For that, I’ll take you back to Dead Poets Society,where in one of the best scenes in the movie Robin nails the essence of that admiration and respect for his talent in a performance that’s as clear today in my mind, as it was in 1989:
“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.
And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are 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?”
The rest as we say, is history.
Thank you Robin, it’s been a blast. May you find the peace of spirit that eluded you here on Earth. We’ll miss you.