“What small thing did I do to help build the Honeycomb.”
-Mac Rogers, The Honeycomb Trilogy
You will, I hope, forgive my taking inspiration from the fictional band of hive-mind alien insects that invade and rule the earth (for a time) in Mac Rogers’ The Honeycomb Trilogy. But the phrase the bugs used to make sense of the value of their lives stuck with me. What small thing did I do help build the Honeycomb?
I appreciate the words “small thing” and “help build”, for I feel often overwhelmed by the wide array of violence and indifference on our quickly warming planet, and it is easy for that overwhelm to spill into inaction. Against those feelings of helplessness, “small thing” and “help build” can make a clear-eyed humility a spur to action. And while I don’t want to mistake a habit of small positive actions for the large leaps of courage that ending injustice frequently requires; at the very least developing that habit may make such leaps more likely.
So looking back at yesterday, May 12, what small things did I do to help build the Honeycomb?
- I worked with Jody Christopherson on her film for the Gun Control Theatre Action project. I can’t say more about this yet, but it could end up being a beautiful thing;
- I signed the petition: Tell Publix Super Markets’ CEO William Crenshaw to join the fight against slavery in the U.S. tomato industry;
- I assisted with the change-over between Sans Merci and Honey Fist (last week to see both plays!);
- I signed the petition: Back up Sen. Elizabeth Warren — become a citizen co-sponsor of her bill to give students the same ultra-low interest rates as big banks;
- I posted two new interviews for TCG’s Diversity & Inclusion series focused on Native theatre artists; and two essays on Artistic Innovation (and let me thank again the amazing Jacqueline E. Lawton and Caridad Svich for their inspiring leadership of these salons);
- I gave a well-deserved shout-out to Sol Crespo’s performance in the joyful and deeply felt production of Neon Baby at Pregones Theater (which you should indeed see);
- I called my own dear mother and contacted the other mothers in my family to wish them a Happy Mother’s Day.
I share these small acts as a means of increasing my own intentionality and accountability; for if, at the end of each day, I share what small things I did to help build the Honeycomb, I may be more likely to do so the next day. Maybe someone else will be inspired to do so, too.
For those reading this who haven’t seen or read The Honeycomb Trilogy, I hope you will have that opportunity soon; but until that time, when I borrow the words “build the Honeycomb”, they stand in for making the world a more peaceful, joyful, just and beautiful place. Small acts matter, both as themselves and as practice for greater acts of moral courage and compassion; and if nothing else, celebrating such acts, large and small, helps stave off the temptations of indifference and helplessness.
As written in the central text of my secular soul, which I have often quoted here and elsewhere:
“It is the shaping impulse of America that neither fate nor nature nor the irresistible tides of history, but the work of our own hands, matched to reason and principle, that will determine our destiny. There is pride in that, even arrogance, but there is also experience and truth. In any event, it is the only way we can live.”