Monday, October 03, 2005

Write the Vision

When Aziza called me last night to inform me of the passing of August Wilson I was immediately saddened. I first fell in love with his words, his craftsmanship and his great ability to entertain and educate while I was still a boy. My tenth grade American History teacher had organized a class trip to see a local production of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. I was captivated with this tale of Black people, living in white America, in search of light in a dark time. I would never again look at theater or myself the same.

I have read or seen nearly all of his plays. His stories and themes cover every aspect of human life. Many times have I looked through windows created by Wilson to see into the lives of those that surround me every single day. At first hearing the news of his home going made my heart sunk because I thought a giant had fallen. A giant that I believed in and loved and without him ever knowing it he loved, nurtured and taught me.

But alas, he is not dead. A giant has not fallen. He lives on.

Over the past several weeks, I have found myself at an impasse. I find myself at times frustrated with my inability to move because of my uncertainty about where to plant my foot next. I am not fearful of making the next move. I am just still waiting on the Lord to answer my prayer and tell me where that next move should be. When it is clear I will then hasten. For now I feel as though I am in a holding pattern.

The works of the master playwright have always inspired me. Now in his death and where I currently find myself in life, the master playwright inspires me perhaps even more. In reflecting on his life one must marvel at what will be called by scholars his greatest accomplishment. Wilson completed a grand epic – ten solid plays that chronicled facest of the lives Black Americans in the 20th century - one for each decade. No other known playwright has fulfilled a goal so successfully. It took him two decades to finish the series.

In his life work I find inspiration. There must have been times where he too found himself at crossroads. Surely, at one point or another he must have also reached an impasse. Even a labor of love over a twenty year period must have seen its shares of ups and downs. But years ago something or someone, a spirit, must have called out to August and told him to go forth with this work. He was given a vision and he saw it through.

Two weeks ago Kenny Leon made brief remarks before the audience at the Lincoln Theater there to see a production of Flying West. Leon noted to us that he had just visited Wilson in Seattle and received further script changes for Radio Golf. Wilson was still writing the vision up until just weeks ago. He knew and he was dedicated.

How great it will be when the calling for my next step in life is whispered, shouted, made known unto me. I believe and so long and as so much as the spirit allows I will see it through.

Oh how I marvel at the works of August Wilson. His works touched by heaven and bless the Earth. He is an inspiration, a model for myself and others both in life and in death.

To you Mr. Wilson, I repeat your own words that will forever resonate with me…So live. To you Mr. Wilson I am grateful for your inspiration that one day I too may write the vision.