Now. Here. This.

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The morning commute after New Year’s is already awkward enough.

Half-awake, I step into my subway car, the sliding glass doors dinging shut behind me. The crowd inside is mostly nodding off in solidarity. Partied too vigorously the other night. Recovered too ineffectually yesterday. Despite the new year, “same shit, different day” is scrawled across everyone’s faces. Epiphanies aren’t supposed to happen here.

I’m listening to Now. Here. This. for the first time. It’s the new album from the creative geniuses behind [title of show], who prodded me to kill vampires. (Admittedly, I’ve killed only a few since receiving their admonition.) Due simply to their history and pedigree, I’m already a fan. The new album is funny, clever, and thought-provoking.

Several tracks in, I listen more intently. “Golden Palace” comes on.

And then it happens.

Tears. Unexpected tears. Welling up, streaming down. In a subway car full of commuters.

Suddenly, the little boy who directed epic adventure home movies and started writing songs at age 12 peeks from under the pomade, the tie, the mortgage. The college freshman who penned a bizarrely comic serial novel about farmers and cows and chickens brushes away thoughts of his post-holiday inbox. The performer, frustrated and angry at his accidental starvation, screams for attention.

I feel a punch in my gut—not from outside, but from within.

Where’s that novel you started writing for NaNoWriMo? Where’s that musical you’re supposed to be writing about your coming out? Where’s that recording of your teen-angsty song from 1997?

I have no excuses.

Again and again, I’ve let myself succumb to the world, forgetting what gives me spark.

This quote from John Adams, placed perfectly within the song, struck a particular chord:

“I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain.”

I’m fortunate to have had many opportunities to paint the world with my unique brush. But I’ve largely ignored them.

Not anymore. There is a golden palace, and it’s for everyone.

My recounting can’t do it justice, so have a listen: http://popculturebrain.com/post/38361557110/now-here-this-cast-recording-golden-palace

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