So much will be written on the life and now death of Robin Williams. Those of us who are old enough to have witnessed his manic and wildly entertaining character from Mork and Mindy are still trying to take in the fact that this artistic genius is suddenly gone from the planet. Facebook is inundated with quotes and clips from movies and stand-up routines (I have re-posted my share). When a great creative genius dies before it seems his/her time, I’m always struck by the weird sensation of wondering what art is not in the world that would have been if they had more time.
I remember wondering, when Jim Croce died in the middle of his most prolific songwriting stage, “what songs would we all know by heart by now that didn’t get written, recorded, and played millions of time on the radio”. I have similar feelings about the music of Jim Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughn and what highlight clips might be in the consciousness of sports fanatics like myself of Len Bias and others who didn’t get to put their art on canvas.
Robin had enough time to give us an amazing amount of laughter and poignant reflection about life in his dramatic roles as an actor. The mixture of sadness and admiration for this man in the aftermath of his death is striking. One thinks of the famous line from the movie Braveheart, “Every man dies, not every man truly lives”. Has anyone’s life in our time demonstrated that truth more profoundly than Robin Williams’? Or from his own movie, Dead Poet’s Society, “The powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?” Many of us are unspeakably grateful for Robin’s verse; the world just seemed a little more alive and colorful with him in it. We are also inspired. Thank you, Robin, for living you the way each of us hopes we could more fully live ourselves. Assaulted by depression, you found a way to not be locked up in it, but to give your gift to all of us despite the demons you fought. Bravo.