Note: I originally wrote this for a project I had started with a friend of mine that we are unable to continue. I did not want this post to be forgotten, so I have moved it here.
I did not immediately drop everything and begin watching Robin Williams’ films the moment I heard the news. In fact, I could not as I was at work and would not be able to leave for at least another four hours. I spent the rest of the evening making small chat with customers about what we loved about his films as they brought them up to the register. Some loved his humor, others loved how surprised they were the first time they saw him in a serious role. What most people mentioned, however, was his powerful energy. My relationship with Jack Kerouac’s writing has been filled with disenchantment, but I feel a quote from On the Road applies here:
“the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.”
We love Robin Williams because despite the varied roles he played, he was never boring. Even if a film itself was considered a bust, I’ve never heard anyone say anything negative about a Robin Williams performance (at least not without conveying a sense of guilt at doing so).
When I did finally get off work after my closing shift, I stopped by the grocery store to grab some ice cream and streamed The Birdcage on Netflix. I’ll admit it was harder for me to believe the truth after watching him on-screen than it was from talking about it at work. Watching someone give so much into their performances can make even the worst news seem like a bad dream. But Robin, I know this isn’t a bad dream. We’ll always be here to watch your intensity burn.