I don’t normally post here about personal matters, but I feel compelled to tonight, because someone very dear to me will soon be moving on to whatever plane awaits beyond this one we all know and cherish.
Erin Myers is bravery. She is beauty. She is vitality and wisdom. One of the most generous, complicated, devoted, courageous, and smart-smart-smart people I’ve ever had the privilege to know and share my artistic life with. Casey and I will be moving to Pittsburgh in a few months, and when I look back on the decade I spent here, Erin will be among the most impactful and important people who touched my life in Chicago.
For anyone who doesn’t know her, you can read her breathtaking, heartbreaking, inspiring writings on her battle with cancer at her blog THE VIEW FROM THE 21st FLOOR.
Everyone should read it start to finish. Erin’s voice is a gift. Her honesty: essential and jaw-dropping.
I knew Erin through the theatre scene for a few years before I actually got to know her. Then, in 2011, we worked on back-to-back shows together as actors, one with WildClaw, and one with The Mammals, and have been friends since. In 2013, Erin originated the role of Paulette in my play BREWED, a role she elevated with grit, passion, and precision. I made major changes to that play and that character during the process, and the credit goes to Erin. Her choices, insight, and limitless curiosity gave me a better understanding of who the character was, and who she could be. Her strength, her resolve, her outer rage and inner pain. Erin once said she viewed Paulette as a poet, though a severely frustrated one. I have thought of the character that way since.
During the course of these experiences, though I never told her (or anyone really), I came to think of Erin as an artistic sister-figure. I admired her the way I admire my older brothers. I always learned from her. I always felt small near her, but comfortably small. She was someone I trusted fully with my opinions and ideas, the rare person I actually found myself opening up to at times. I held her in the highest esteem and I always will.
Late last year I finished my first novel. The first person to read it was Casey. The second person to read it was Erin Myers. If it is ever published, it will be dedicated to her.
I’m heartbroken for her husband, her family, and all of her many friends (who I am lucky to count myself among). She’s a warrior. A special breed of bad-ass. And I will think of her every time I hear the word: “Motherfucker.”
[Erin Myers passed away on May 2. A superior woman, artist, troublemaker, and ally. She will be deeply missed.]