It’s early morning and I’m out with the dog and he barks and chases a monkey and this is just the start of another routine day in Africa.
I’m thinking about it, too, the sad news of the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman. A father of three, like myself, he was also virtually my age.
He was the sort of actor to love because he took on roles of everyday characters, even the eccentric, shunning the hero. You got the feeling that there was a sort of genuineness, a matching of the inside and outside, with this man.
Hoffman was once asked if fear was ever a motivator in his acting life, and he said yes, it was, when he was to do something very hard. And this is what made acting so thrilling at the same time.
Being a dad was another fear and thrill. This is what he also said. And after having kids, he realized how parenthood can simply make you crazy. Your love for your kids can be that intense.
“It’s like looking into the sun,” is how he put it. And now, with his own kids, he can honestly wonder, “Why did I give my dad such a hard time?”
There’s a beauty in it too, he said, in parenthood, a rediscovery when summer, for one, is new, like when he was a boy, when things that have gotten old and rusty in adult years can be restored.
These, the things on my mind during today’s sunrise walk while the dog – Zack, our long haired German Shepherd – chased that monkey.
It wasn’t so much of a moment; just an ordinary one.
But maybe this is why so many entertainers – even the terribly gifted and loved ones – struggle with drug demons as they sometimes do. They live in a privileged world, but one that’s also made up of lights and shadows.
Some would likely be just as happy to get out of bed and, like any of us do, put their pants on one leg at a time and eat breakfast and walk the dog and live in a world of such ordinary moments.
Because they know that if you string enough of these moments together, they all become much more.
If we could have one more interview with Philip Seymour Hoffman, maybe he’d say something like this.
We’re deeply saddened by his loss and pray for his three children Cooper, Willow and Tallulah and their mother, Hoffman’s long-time girlfriend, Mimi O’Donnell.