I found this teapot at an antique store in Wenatchee, Washington and knew I had to have it. When we started filming Morgan Brayton & Other People for OutTV, some two plus years ago, I brought it to the studio to be part of the set. I wanted to have a bit integrated into the decor. Today, I brought Lucy home, along with a beautiful bouquet of flowers and a bunch of feelings.
Today we filmed the 50th and final episode of Morgan Brayton & Other People. The topic, fittingly, was endings. In preparation for the topic and the final episode, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about endings. I discovered that I’m way more comfortable with them than I thought. Or than I used to be. Or than I’d given myself credit for? Here are some of the things I’ve been thinking about.
We don’t stop a lot these days. At least, I don’t. In our world of multitasking and multiple tabs open and everyone having to do double duty just to make ends meet, the idea of marking time or change through ritual doesn’t happen a lot. Sure, we have birthdays and holidays, but they’re fraught with other complicated feelings and don’t always help us actually stop and look backwards and forward. (The exception to this being decade birthdays. I have had complete meltdowns at 30 and 40 and I look very much forward to doing so at 50 and turning my life upside down once again. Stay tuned!) But when something ends, either by choice (like the ending of my show) or without consulting us (like the death of a relationship or a loved one), we can’t help but take a look around. Endings help us stop a minute and take stock. They help us reflect on what has gone before and what was important about it to us. Which is what I’m doing right now.
When I think about Morgan Brayton & Other People, the feelings are layered. I’ve had an amazing time. I’ve learned so much, I’ve laughed so hard, I’ve shed a few tears, and I’ve met some great dogs.
And I’m also ready to move on. That’s not a phrase I say a lot. Working as an actor for almost 30 years, you get really used to other people telling you where your career is at and where you need to put your energy. You get used to being grateful for any work you have. This show, while being very much about the people taking part in the conversation, was anchored in me and what I wanted to talk about. But earlier this year, I had the interesting experience of saying, “This isn’t where I want to be anymore”. It was unfamiliar and terrifying and the angry gnome at the back of my head kept screaming, “YOU HAVE A TV SHOW! HOW DARE YOU NOT BE SATISFIED! SHUT UP AND BE HAPPY!” (His voice sounds like the whistling of a teapot and the screeching of train tracks combined, in case you were having trouble imagining.) When my feelings were met with agreement by the production team, I felt a sense of validation and satisfaction. Then sheer panic. Then satisfaction again. We were all on the same page and, best of all, they suggested we turn another page and figure out something new to write. Believe me, I’m aware how lucky I am. Thanks, OutTV. But that’s getting ahead of ourselves to beginnings, and we’re still talking about endings.
If we really take the opportunity they offer us, endings help us pause the busy-ness, the treading water, and encourage us to ask ourselves, “If this really were the end, would I be satisfied?” Oh man, when my mum died, I went through an amazing phase of having zero patience for nonsense. What’s that? Yeah, okay, listen, my WORLD just fell apart; your petty bullshit is trifling and will not be tolerated! MOVE! It was amazing. It didn’t last, unfortunately, but remnants of it remain and step up to shut down nonsense periodically. It’s pretty great. So I don’t want to let the opportunity of this ending go by without gleaning all I can from it.
So, how do I feel? Well, on the one hand, I feel sadness at letting go of this regular opportunity to bring interesting people together and talk about things that matter to them. When I ask myself why I love doing this show, that’s the reason. But, you know, I’ve realized that the reason I ended up doing that on OutTV is because I do that in life. Bringing interesting people together is kind of my jam. I’ve been lucky enough to build a community full of fascinating people over my past few decades in Vancouver and I love nothing more than to introduce those people to each other, growing that community even further and having conversations that bring together so many fascinating opinions and experiences. The show has given me the opportunity to present those conversations on a different scale. There’s no producer who books all these fascinating people, these fascinating people are all a part of my world. Looking back on these people and these conversations, as only an ending can make me do, has been overwhelming. Man, what a lot of smart, funny, interesting, passionate, loving people I know.
Some of them I’ve been lucky enough to learn more about through this show and I think that might be one of the big things I’ll take with me from this experience. People aren’t always who we think they are. They so often have experiences, thoughts and opinions I never would have guessed. But through this show, I’ve had the opportunity to ask them about their lives and their thoughts. I’m going to miss that. Or I would if I thought the end of Morgan Brayton & Other People meant the end of those conversations. But it won’t.
I’ll keep asking. I’ll keep bringing together people from all the various parts of my communities and finding out what they have in common. I’ll keep listening to them and facilitating conversations with them and finding out where we diverge. And yes, I will keep talking too much and making jokes at inopportune moments and crying when I get overwhelmed. Let a girl have her foibles, will ya?
But here’s another big thing I’ve realized. Through doing all that, I’ll be reminded that I belong. If not to all of these communities, at least to a part of all of them. My connections are my strength. I am not alone. None of us are. But maybe sometimes we need something–a tv show, a dinner party, a play, a book of poetry, a glass of wine, a cup of coffee, some comedy, a blog post, or even, god forbid, a phone call–to remind us.
On today’s episode, we talked about endings. The ever-clever Tetsuro Shigematsu pointed out that every ending has many beginnings held within it. I love that. It think it’s so true. This case is no exception. So, I’m happy to announce that we are currently in pre-production on a new OutTV show and I look very much forward to sharing it once it’s ready. So stay tuned!
Thank you to OutTV, especially my producer Philip Webb, for approaching me and for thinking I could anchor a show people might watch. Thank you to my director, Nicky Forsman for fighting for me and sometimes with me to figure out what works and what could work better. Thank you to our amazing cast for the bulk of our run, Katie-Ellen Humphries, Erica Sigurdson, Fatima Dhowre and Robyn Daye Edwards. And to all the many other guests who graced our set. Thank you to our crew which mostly consisted of Samantha Amaral, Jonathan Schmidtgall, Milan Wejr, Matteo Di Iorio, Jordan Sy, Evan Eye, Craig George and Meredydd Gray along with Davina Faye, Karly Paranich, Mark Barry, Sandor Gyurkovics, Cameron Sinclair, Travis Hansen, D’Arcy Hamilton, Rain Essery, Gloria Ching, Lisa Kolisnyk, Jack Fox, Lisa Forrest, Katherine Frost and of course Brad Danks and James Shavick.