Some days, the universe comes at you with what seem like messages; personal, private communiques meant to tell you – just you – something important. It is as if you are being warned to listen, pay attention; “HEY YOU! THERE IS SOMETHING YOU’RE MISSING! SOMETHING YOU OUGHT TO BE DOING! SEEING! KNOWING! LOOK!”
Today feels like one of those days to me. First, I woke to the social media alerts that actor Richard Griffiths had died. I realize that for many (most) people he is Uncle Vernon in the “Harry Potter” films. Confession. Loved the first few books. But, the movies, while I enjoyed them enough, they didn’t – for me – have the impact of Rowling’s words.
Still, for me, in my life, Richard Griffiths played a huge role. I first saw him on Broadway in “THE HISTORY BOYS” and he was heartbreaking, brilliant, in one of those performances during which the actor’s spoken dialogue flows and has the emotional impact of music. He was lyrical, overwhelming. His breakdown and his ache affected me viscerally. I later saw him in “EQUUS” (alongside the naked Harry Potter, Daniel Radcliffe) which was an equally moving experience for me in very different ways. Mr. Girffiths, thank you for your work. Thank you from one of those people “out there in the dark” for whom your presence on this earth made a real difference.
Then, having barely recovered from the news about Mr. Griffiths, I saw in my Facebook feed the announcement that Don Bachardy’s new website was going live.
Don Bachardy, artist, was the longtime companion/lover of the brilliant, iconic author, Christopher Isherwood. Both are – to me – Idols. Icons. Despite all their obvious differences, they found one another, their souls connected, and throughout difficulties and changes and endless growth and exploration of the world, both together and apart, they loved one another for decades.
When I am at my saddest, I think of them. I am at my saddest right now, so when into my feed came information about the new site, and a portfolio of his paintings, I wondered if it was meant to be a sign on this day when I am lousy with memories and awash in sorrows I don’t quite understand, may never understand. But even if it’s not a sign that I am missing a point (and, I confess, I am – I believe – always missing a point) it is at least a sign that I ought to share the site and you should look at his work. And too, and perhaps even more important, when you believe love can never happen, will never happen, read about two great artists who overcame differences in age and belief and background to find a blessed union of Light.
And so, whatever else the universe throws at me today (and there is sure to be something, as it has been that kind of week, month, year, life) I will be contemplating the thoughts I’ve been given to think through my life by the work and lives of Richard Griffiths, Don Bachardy, and Christopher Isherwood. And all the people with whom I’ve shared part of them.