Okay, I’ve decided that I’m going to leave up yesterday’s post because I figure I owe it to other artists I know. Mostly I try to keep things positive, both in my head and on the monitor.
Sometimes, though, the skulluglies attack. I think it happens to all of us from time to time. So what do you do when you’re overwhelmed with doubt and fear and (I’ll admit it) self-pity?
I have certain images that I cling to, that give me strength.
One of those is Cyrano de Bergerac. It’s one of my favorite plays of all time. My favorite film version is the 1990 Jean-Paul Rappeneau version, starring Gerard Depardieu as Cyrano (with Anne Brochet as a lovely Roxane and Vincent Perez as a darling Christian.)
Now, I’m not sure if it’s appropriate to post a spoiler warning about a play that was originally published 120 years ago, but, okay I’m going to give away the ending, so–
At the end, Cyrano has suffered a massive injury that is killing him, but while he still lives he fights against the fading light and delivers a monologue that brings me to tears every time.
He is walking in a park, Roxane close by, and he draws his sword and begins striking the air, listing his enemies, the weakness and self-doubt and cowardice that he has struggled against all of his heroic life.
And at the last he speaks of the one thing that no one has ever been able to take from him, “Mon panache!”
It is a beautiful line because the literal meaning of the word is “white plume” and he is referring to his nose, the disfiguring feature that has been his burden, but he also means the word in the sense that we use it in English, his style, his personal sense of honor and dignity.
I’m getting choked up again just thinking about it. Because he took what the world hated about him and made it his standard, his battle flag.
That’s what I try to do. I won’t ever be quite like other people, quite normal. But I own my difference, my illness, the thing that sets me apart.