Inspiration in an unlikely place

When I saw that Thornton Wilder’s play “Our Town” debuted on Broadway on this day in 1938, I sat back in my chair. A swirl of memories from high school in the mid 1980s came to mind. I read Our Town for the first time in English class and remember being amazed. I had never read anything so simple and to the point and yet so on the mark in my life.

The story starts with the stage manager addressing the audience and the play goes on to tell the story of Grover’s Corners and of love and death, universal to anywhere in the world. It shares the idea that we live without really appreciating what life has to offer and dives heavily into mortality, gratefulness, companionship and marriage, love, and the circle of life.

I’m not sure why the story meant so much to me. I suspect because I grew up in a small-town not that different than Grover’s Corners, but either way, I’ve never forgotten the message: You have to make the most of your life.

What book or play has stayed with you or speaks to you today?

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21 thoughts on “Inspiration in an unlikely place

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  1. I know that I read Our Town in high school, but couldn’t tell you a thing about it. It’s interesting to reflect on what inspires you, anyone, to do what they do. Thanks for sharing the quotes.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yup, love how something is blasé to me, but moves someone else. I’m sure our town hit me because I couldn’t wait to get out of my lil town, probably a little arrogant for my own good, and hit me at the perfect time. Thanks Ally, makes me think I should explore that more in a future piece!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love the last quote especially Brian! Life is all around us if we just open ourselves and take it in. Too easy to get distracted by everything else, especially in our world today.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Oh…this line, from Emily, that you captured above in a quote, “Does anyone ever realize life while they live it…every, every minute?”. Love, love, love. I was in a production of “Our Town” once and it changed my life – playing Emily. Thank you for the sweet remembrances this morning, Brian. Thornton Wilder for the win! 💓💓💓

    Liked by 3 people

      1. LOL! Sure…such a blast from “Vicki past”. I love that you brought the memories this morning. For all the small town, wholesome reasons you mentioned, it’s a classic and in all the years since I first became enamored of “Our Town” nothing’s come close to replacing it in my heart! 💓


  4. What an interesting reflection and question. I’m not sure I’ve ever read “Our Town” but your reminiscence and quotes makes me think I should. When I think about formative novels from high school, I think of Tale of Two Cities. That one really touched me! Thanks for an inspiring post, Brian!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’m sure a big reason the book meant something to me was the point in time that I read it. A small town kid scarred of moving away from home but bored where I lived. A friend of mine says that we shouldn’t get upset with ourselves about what we’ve read or haven’t read … that we read each book when we’re meant to read them and when they have something to say to us. I sort of like that advice!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I must admit I’ve never heard of Our Town. Two things that really stuck with me from school are Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier and some strange poem with a line about a chicken/hen staring at nothing and picking it up … dont know the poet or the author – but 40 years later, I still remember than line

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  6. “OurTown” was a biggie for me, too. I played Emily in our high school play and wore my mother’s actual wedding gown to save money on costumes. It was a fabulous gown with a 6 foot long train and many of the parents in the audience were crying (“Our Town” wasn’t exactly a laugh riot).
    One of my favorite books is one called “The Color of Water” by James McBride; I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a good inspiring read. It’s a memorable story.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. I haven’t heard of Our Town, but I love the quotes you’ve shared, especially that last one. I didn’t really get the chance to read many books at school due to the amount of time I had off school because of illness. However, since then, my favourite books are Jonathan Livingston Seagull – (I’ve read that many times) and George Orwell’s 1984. That really impacted me and was frighteningly accurate when I look at the way so much of life is today. I should really reread it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I have to read 1984 again. It’s been awhile. Another one and the same vein, The Lord of the Flies. I read both in school and both seem to apply a lot to Modern society. And yes, I really should read Jonathan Livingston Seagull again. Loved that book. So inspirational.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. The result you speak of is why writers like myself write. We hope that, of all our millions of words read by millions of people, some part of a line will “hit home” ~ provide some comfort, affirmation, enablement or just a moment of beauty for one or two.

    Liked by 1 person

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