“Every fear hides a wish.” David Mamet
Recently an old college friend, Koko Cooper, who directed me on stage in David Mamet's Duck Variations––the performance of which I am probably proudest––announced that she'd accepted a new job, the training for which would require her to fly here to Colorado for a few days. Koko was a good friend, kind and patient, and incredibly generous, so when I read about her fear and the experiences she's had flying, I knew what I had to do. She had to have one of my magic feathers. They did wonders for me when I was preparing for my flight to Buffalo last year and I figured maybe all she needed was a little extra magic to get her off the ground.
So last week Duncan and I dumped all the feathers I've collected over the years onto the coffee table and went through them. The table, a heavy and dark tiled thing, turned into a rainbow of memories and inspiration. I took a long time going through them, running my fingers along their sleek bodies, strumming the music from them, holding each up to Duncan for his inspection. Finally, he seemed to settle on a nice red one, bright and vivid, a parrot feather my friend David had sent me. I picked out a simple card with a puffin on it, a bird most people falsely believe doesn't fly despite the fact that it does, and slipped it into the mail.
It has arrived safely in Chicago, ready for Koko to carry with her onto the plane that will bring it back to Colorado. It will not bring her luck but the kind of magic that is familiar with the air, with its currents and calms, with the serenity of boundless blue space, and the strength to accomplish whatever it is she sets out to do. She doesn't yet know that that magic resides deep within herself, but I have faith the feather will whisper its secrets to her as it whispered them to me.
Koko, you will be fine. And if we can see each other after these eighteen long years, I will experience the magic of that feather again. Be strong and brave, my friend. The feather will carry you far.