How does one exist in the world: do you live your life according to a single ideal or by trial-and-error, seeking a diverse spiral of experiences? This dichotomy plays out everywhere and especially in human relationships. In “Tempest in a Teacup” six characters, each with a different way of being—Destiny, Great Love, Power, Obligation, Pleasure, Beauty—come together in a series of events revolving around a corporate function. As the characters collide, the viability of each way is questioned in their alternating viewpoints. Each narrator is unreliable - but then which one of us is ever a reliable narrator?
The idea for this story was born out of “Dictionary of Misunderstood Words” in Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being. From the day I first read him, I was fascinated with Kundera’s characters representing different how-to-exist-in-the-world ideas. But as I tried to fill these existential characters with flesh and blood and guilt and longing and all the internal cracks that make us human, another influence crept in. I love Leonard Cohen’s songs and poetry. I don’t know anyone who expressed the pain and the healing power of our relationships as well as he did. On the surface, these two men couldn’t be more different: a cool, humorous, almost rational dissection vs. broken, passionate, spiritual longing. And yet I saw more similarities than differences: from separate viewpoints, they shone a light on both our alienation and the grace of connections that eclipse our selves. They don’t need my homage, but I wanted to thank these remarkable artists for giving me shelter and light when all other lights went out.
Which cover do you like better?