I have a variety of reasons for plunging headfirst into Our Town.

The primary motivation has been wonderfully recorded by Mike Harden in The Columbus Dispatch and Jennifer Hambrick in The New Standard.

But, as rehearsals continue, the motivations multiply. Here’s a new aspect of my motivation.

All Those Books
For decades, I’ve walked past the bookshelves in our home. Titles catch my eyes, especially those that I don’t know as well as I should. Many were assigned reading in high school and college. So, either I don’t remember them vividly or, worse, I never really read them in the first place.

I look at these familiar titles with their unfamiliar contents — and feel a pang of guilt, at worst, or a longing for a missed opportunity, at best.

Among the titles: Our Town.

Now, as I read and re-read Our Town, memorizing and internalizing the language of Thornton Wilder, I realize that I am, as Jennifer Hambrick suggested, exorcising a ghost. The ghost is the false impression that I am so well read.

But how well read can a late bloomer truly become?
For now, Our Town will serve as a representative of the other books on the shelf, the other ones that sailed through my fingers and over my head when I was too young to really digest them.

Even if I don’t know any other book so well, I will know Our Town intimately. I will know one book exceedingly well. I will know it cold.

So now, I know Our Town.