I realize it's not politically correct to say so. Yet I'd like to shout it from the rooftops. I MISS THE CIRCUS.
There really is nothing else like it, the acts, the people, the entire subculture of the circus. Cirque du Soleil is a nice show, but it's not the circus, the real circus, the gritty, fabulous, place apart circus. The circus is its own subculture, a world unto itself unlike any other.
And no one can run away to it anymore.
I wrote a book about the circus once called THE AMAZING TROMBONI MOVE IN. It is about a world, a town, without the circus. People in Hartleyville banned the circus because they said it is dirty and dangerous, filled with animals and strange looking people. I wanted to write about a circus family who moved to a town like Hartleyville, a sad, conventional town, and brought their own magic with them, their squirting flowers and trained chimps, their trapeze acts and big floppy shoes. It's my favorite story I've ever written.
But I never expected that the circus really would be banned, forgotten, taken out of existence. Barnum and Bailey is gone, and small circuses are struggling internationally. So much of the circus has been vilified too.
Take clowns. They have become scary. But clowns are wonderful. Fellini's great movie, Clowns, is one of my favorites, about the artistry of clowns. There is the whole idea of clowns becoming other, unique, fabulous to make folks laugh, not to scare them.
I miss trapeze, tightrope walkers, ringmasters, and yes, even trained animals. As Grandpa Tromboni tells the family in my story,
“I knew a man who knew a man who knew a man who left the circus. Moved to a little town and bought himself a house to live in.”
“I knew no such man,” Grandma said. “Is who?”
“What I mean is,” Grandpa continued, “it may be time to try something new, to try a life outside the circus.”
“Is there a life outside the circus?” Grandma asked."
I guess we will have to see if there is.