Today I went to Claire Grove‘s funeral and then I took part in Kate Crutchley‘s memorial/tribute at the Oval, one after the other.
Claire was the first person I did drama work with on R4, she (beautifully) produced loads of Shelley’s radio plays, got Shelley started in radio drama (and encouraged Shelley’s ukulele playing!). Kate directed me in several plays when I was acting, she was running the Oval when I did my first solo show, and my first directing.
Such vibrant, passionate, astonishing women. Both had breast cancer (we introduced them, one with the recurring disease, one newly diagnosed if I recall rightly, at our Civil Registration) and both died far too young.
And as I listened to people today, at two different events, in different hearts of London (east and south) speak of their hard work and passion and energy and strength and commitment and politics and naughtiness and twinkle and ENTHUSIASM for life, I did not, not once, think perhaps I should do less, work less, take more time off, take more holidays, relax more. I did not think that at all.
Of course, having had breast cancer in my 30s, it terrifies me that it might come back. Of course I am aware and scared I might die ‘early’ (what on earth is early??!!). And I do understand that sometimes people who love me – my wife who loves me! – think perhaps having some time off isn’t a bad idea.
But we don’t get cancer, and we certainly don’t die, from doing too much, from putting too much of our hearts into our passion projects (yes, like Fun Palaces!), from having big lives.
We live less when we do too little.
We LIVE our lives when we do as much as we can, and then a bit more. A lot more.
All the art and all the politics and all the friends and all the music and all the dancing. ALL of it.
I am grateful to both Claire and Kate who were wonderful role models for LIVE-ing.
I intend to live until I drop.
I hope you do too.
Bring it on.