I’ve had “Friend Like Me” stuck in my head for over twelve hours – even in my sleep I think it was playing over and over.
After seeing his role in August Rush, I felt like Robin Williams was…on a different level. He’d delighted me in childhood with Hook, Jumanji, Mrs. Doubtfire, and Aladdin. But those were all fun and uplifting. But in August Rush, he was scary and creepy. Here’s a man who’s known for his comedy and improv, who is hailed for his ability to put a smile on anyone’s face, and here he is, perfectly executing a role that has none of those things. That is true acting.
Of course comedy was never the only thing Robin did. My personal favorite film of his would have to be Dead Poet’s Society (although Hook is very close for first place), what with my being an English major and also a huge fan of American Transcendentalism. But who could not be inspired by the passion with which Robin expressed these lines:
Poetry, beauty, romance, love. These are what we stay alive for.
I’ve long held a theory that true genius comes at the price of mental illness, whether that be scientific genius or creative genius. Something I’ve come to accept as a creative person is that you are putting your soul on display in all of your work. Whatever you’re writing, painting, acting, sculpting, sewing, photographing, singing, or playing, a little piece of you gets invested into that. Not in a horcrux way, but more in a my-love-will-save-your-life way. This isn’t easy. It’s actually pretty painful, and the creative person is very often thrown from the heights of ecstasy to the pits of insecurity because they are constantly in a vulnerable position – giving pieces of themselves away to complete strangers and often never knowing how those bits of their soul are accepted.
I loved the quote Robin’s daughter put up on instagram, and it somehow capture Robin Williams completely. It’s a tragedy when people are hurting so much that they forget how they are stars to someone else – even just one person. No one should ever have to feel that lost and alone. Robin was so good at reaching out to others in their times of need. Let us all follow that example, and remember that reaching out really does make a difference.
I won’t pretend I know or understand everything Robin Williams went through, but I certainly appreciate how much of his soul he gave to us. We will be forever grateful, and I can only hope we do him justice by remembering him the way he’d want us to. By laughing, and loving.