“I should have known the world was wide enough for both Hamilton and me.”
Ok. So I know there is nothing novel in gushing about Hamilton. But I still wanted to capture here how seeing Hamilton hit me hard on three levels.
Put simply, the first act of Hamilton is nothing short of perfect art. I’d be lying if I said that it didn’t make me want to be a better person.
What I was struck by most was how it hit me on three levels:
At the highest level were the parallels between our country’s beginnings and now.
“History is happening in Manhattan and we just happen to be in the greatest city in the world.”
Change “Manhattan” to “San Francisco” and we are in the midst of a tech/AI maelstrom that is changing life we know it. And it’s great to be in the middle of it.
“Look around, look around, at how lucky we are to be alive right now”
And the most gut-wrenching parallel of all came during “Dear Theodosia:”
“You will come of age with our young nation. We’ll bleed and fight for you, we’ll make it right for you.”
In the face of a political climate where Republicans openly lie and act in pure self-interest, serving no one, this one especially cut to the core. Will we be able to make it right, and if necessary will I be ready to not just fight, but bleed for it?
Look beyond the face value of the glaring historical parallels, and we come to the central dichotomy of the narrative, Hamilton and Burr.
What struck me most was seeing myself in Burr. “Wait for It” brought me to tears.
“I am the one thing in life that I can control. I am inimitable, I am an original. I’m not falling behind or running late. I’m not standing still, I am lying in wait.”
“Hamilton faces an endless uphill climb. He has something to prove, he has nothing to lose. Hamilton’s pace is relentless, he wastes no time. What is it like in his shoes?”
I want to be a Hamilton, I really do. And everything Silicon Valley prizes says to be a Hamilton. But I have more Burr in me than I’d like to admit. I waited too long to course correct my career, essentially standing still. Or was it lying in wait? Time will tell. But through it all I have treasured my originality, my inimitability.
I’ve had something to lose. I’ve wasted time. With the exception of being a woman, I’ve been graced with every possible advantage since birth. Can I tap into my inner Hamilton in time, and stop wasting time? Or do I make the most of my Burr-ness?
Ah, Lin-Manuel. Now we come to you.
The third level that Hamilton hit me was as a creative.
How do you craft a masterpiece, how do you obsess over every word until it is perfect?
As someone who likes to think of herself as creative, I left wanting more out of myself. I want to create something great. To put something forth into the world that is masterful.
Let’s face it, in the short-term that will probably be a sweet Williams koozie. And I’m ok with that. But I want to shoot for a greater North Star beyond that.
“So so so, so this is what it feels like to match wits, with someone at your level what the hell is the catch? It’s the feeling, the freedom of seeing the light, it’s Ben Franklin with the key and the kite, you see it right?”