Peter and I were thrilled to hear that Mr Fry was coming to Australia, and even more thrilled that a second show was to be performed in Melbourne. Yep - missed tickets for the first show, and strangely the second was a matinee, so actually preceded the first show...ok...that's hurting my head a little. After initially missing out on tickets, I was keen to get a fix in the form of his autobiography. After trekking through several local bookshops to no avail, my online shopping account assured a copy of Moab is my Washpot was flying its was into my hands within a fortnight. What joy it was when it arrived a few weeks ago.
Peter and I dolled ourselves up and headed off to the Regent Theatre on the 31st July at 2pm. Two hours later we shuffled out with hundreds of other people. I was a little speechless. So much was rattling around my head. You know it's a lovely thing to experience things in your life that inspire you, stop you and make you think, make you look at the world a little differently, and perhaps even look at your relationship with yourself and the world in a different way. I know I was deep in thought but I was beaming.
I had just listened to someone who has an amazing relationship with language. A love of its humour and power. Stephen gave great examples of Australian accents, imitated his famous friends, and espoused the joys of his literary heroes. I laughed often, but I was also taken with is candidness. He talked about his troubled childhood, his time in prison, his suicide attempt and being diagnosed with manic depression (bi-polar disorder). He said he wasn't much good at anything else, so all he has is words. He said he wasn't really interested in fantasy so chose to really write about what he knew...himself. I must say I smirked thinking about writing this blog.
It was interesting to hear someone talk honestly and openly about what has gone on in their life. Not in an Oprah kind of way, but in a very stripped back English lets-not-make-a-fuss-about-this kind of way. He finished the show by talking about Oscar Wilde. And then said how many people make excuses in life. I can't do this because...I don't know about that so I couldn't... He said that was the wonderful thing about literature. It's everywhere...and all you have to do is pick it up. So simple. And best of all true. It's nice to be reminded and feel empowered.
I was recently sent a link by my Uni lecturer, to listen to Stephen being interviewed on Australian radio. Can I just say, BEST HOMEWORK EVER. The podcast is here, and I implore you to have a listen. You'll see the range of topics discussed in 25 minutes. Amazing. But I love the end of this interview. Stephen states that he's an optimist. As you're bound to be nearly always right. Of course the same is said of pessimists. However, he feels the need to believe that things will always get better. And at that moment I felt a kinship with this man. I used to joke and say I was essentially an optimist - but that just meant I tended to be disappointed quite a bit. But I need to believe there is a reason to get out of bed the next day. That whatever hardship is currently being endured, will eventually pass. That humour and joy can be found simply if you look for it. Or even better, create it for yourself.
It is good to be reminded about such things, but it is even better to act on it.