»You cannot prevent the birds of sorrow from flying over your head,
but you can prevent them from building nests in your hair.«
Duncan Macmillan says it's through the themes he deals with in his work that he encounters his own demons and anxiety that pervade our lives now perhaps more than ever. Or, as Ciril Zlobec put it: »Man is an open product; an unfinished being who, all his conscious life, wonders who or what he is, what he should be, what he cannot be, what he should not be ... Thus, he creates his own living philosophy, based exclusively on the experiential moments of our time. As such, it is the deepest and the only philosophy for him.«
In the time matrix that locks us in and scares us away from visible and invisible dangers, we are certainly more prone to addictions, stress, depression, and suicide. The inability to intervene in the mechanism of an apathetic society paralyzes us. As a result, our spiritual as well as physical flight retreats to the sinister reality that is stifling our creative freedom. »Because in order to live in the present we have to be able to imagine a future that will be better than the past,« says the Narrator. But what if depressive disorders, thinking disorders, feelings of guilt, inferiority and despair get so overwhelming that one no longer sees a way out? The Narrator, as the author calls the actor in his monopsychodrama Every Brilliant Thing, shows us how to find a solution for traumatic life experiences. He tells his own story: at an early age, he began to compile a list of every brilliant thing that makes life worth living. The list was becoming longer and more extensive, and it brought about the realization that it would be meaningless to leave and depart too early. He came up with a million. A million things worth living for. The things on the list should be extremely wonderful, intangible, and must make life meaningful.
A seven-year-old boy’s first entry of ice cream to the teenage winning something to dancing in private or reading something which articulates exactly how you feel but lacked the words to express it and watching someone watching your favourite film, talking, birds singing, the smell of old books, Nina Simone’s voice ... A million.
And if you have a long life and you spend it without feeling terribly depressed at least once, you probably haven’t been paying enough attention.
Nataša Barbara Gračner