Now, for as long as I've know this woman, her grandma has been hovering on the edge of death. She's been in hospice and hospital, nursing home and relative's homes. Shipped and moved and cared for. Good and bad. And she's finally passed over.
I tried counting tonight. Thinking of how long it's been ... eight years? More?
I'm grateful and sad and humbled. My friend has been in pain over this for too long and her grandmother has suffered for too long.
Quality of life, you know? Sometimes when you think of the advances the medical profession has made in extending our lives is ... kinda scary.
And today, Mike brought me a script from a play that we'd seen together a few years ago. He remembered how the opening monologue had moved me that night.
So he found someone that had been in the play and asked for their script.
And then he gave it to me.
The Good Doctor
by Neil Simon
Narrator: It's quite alright, you're not disturbing me ... I would much rather talk than work, yet here I am, day after day haunted by one thought, I must write, I must write, I must write ... This is my study, the room in which I write my stories. I built it myself actually ... cut the timber and fitted the logs.
Made an awful mess of it ... I do my writing here at the side of the room because the roof leaks directly over my desk ... I'd move the desk but it covers a hole I left in the floor ... And the floor was built on the side of a hill, so in heavy rains, the room tends to slide downhill. ... Many's the day I've stood in this cabin and passed my neighbors standing in the road. ... Still, I'm happy here.
Although I don't get enough visitors to suit me ... People tend to shy away from writers ... They assume we're always busy thinking, not true.
Even my dear, sweet mother doesn't like to disturb me so she always tiptoes up here and leaves my food outside the door.
I haven't had a hot meal in years.
But I've done a good deal of writing in here. Perhaps too much.
I look out the window and think that life is passing me by at a furious rate. So I ask myself the question ... what force is it that compels me to write so incessantly, day after day, page after page, story after story ...
And the answer is quite simple.
I have no choice.
I am a writer.
Sometimes I think that I may be mad ... Oh, I'm quite harmless. But conversations where I hear nothing and see only the silent movement of lips and answer a meaningless, "Yes, yes, of course," and all the time I'm thinking, 'He'll make a wonderful character for a story, this one.'
Still, while I'm writing, I enjoy it. And I like reading the proofs, but as soon as it appears in print, I can't bear it. I see that it's all wrong, a mistake, that it ought never to have been written, and I am miserable ...
Then the public reads it: "Yes, charming, clever ... Charming but a far cry from Tolstoy" ... or "A fine thing, but Turgenev's 'Fathers and Sons' is better."
And so it will be to my dying day ... Charming and clever, charming and clever, nothing more ... and when I die, my friends will walk by my grave and say, "Here lies so and so, a good writer, but Turgenev was better."
It's funny, but before you came in, I was thinking to myself, perhaps I should give it up one day.
What would I do instead?
Well, I've never freely admitted this before, but to you here in the theater tonight, I would like to tell you what I would most like to do with my life ...
Ever since I was a small child, I always .. I always ... *Narrator starts writing* ...
And we remember what is important. And what is real. And what we are meant to do, who we are meant to be, and how we are meant to live.