Group or Solo

This weekend was a highlight of the year, perhaps the life, for my pre-kindergarten daughter. She finally got to perform in the beautiful theater as a munchkin in the wizard of Oz. We really were not sure because she is so young—even for a munchkin she is little. Despite our fears and her own, she did the work and went on stage before hundreds of people and sang and danced.


I was so proud! She had navigated the whole thing without help from me. Theater productions are just that—productions. There are a lot of people and moving parts. It takes paying attention, and being light on one’s feet.


In a group, it is hard to be precise. Some things are very exact, and some are not. They can seem to change too, some things being loose and when you least expect it, it will be the thing you were supposed to pay close attention to.


She handled it well, all the bustle and barking orders. She was ready to cocoon at home afterwards.


You know what is not a production?



Writing is the opposite of a theatrical production. It is a very solitary activity, and only the writer decides what is important and what is loose. Often, the writer decides that everything is important and clenches around every word.


Which she can do. It is her art and her choices.


There are some kinds of art that take broad cooperation: film, theater, and symphony. Then there are solo artists, like writers, painters or solo musicians.


I have been thinking about relationships and community lately. How does the individual express inside a community?


As an American, I am fiercely individual. At the same time, I know that integrating with a group is essential. It takes both.