I’m standing backstage with one of the professors from the English department. He’s also been a friend of Shansi for longer than I’ve been aware of the program and serves as a very good guide when I’m confused about life in general. And he’s been playing gamelan with UKJGS for as long as I’ve been alive. Right now he’s wearing a sarong and a t-shirt and smoking.
We sit at the bottom of a flight of stairs. At our backs is a curtain and behind that is the audience. To our left is another curtain, slightly open so that I can see the empty stage, the pieces to the gamelan set sitting, waiting for their players.
“You could write something about this,” he says.
“I want to,” I say, “But I’m not sure what yet.”
He asks if Oberlin’s theater department has a journal and talks about the possibilities of writing something for that.
But of course that’s not what I mean. A journal article wouldn’t begin to cover the conversations I’ve had backstage, the times the woman who usually dances Sita has actually greeted me, all the arm bands I’ve tied. A journal article can’t describe the meetings I’ve sat through not understanding anything or the red bags of costumes that I lug from the bus to the dressing rooms before every performance. A journal article isn’t going to be about everything that’s going on right this very minute.