My Brother Chris

My brother Chris is the baby of the family, the third and final son of my parents. Chris came along seven years after me, he was not expected, in fact when my Mom told me she was having another child she assured me it would be a daughter. Poor Mom always wanted a daughter, she then had two sons, born 15 months apart. Scott was quiet and well behaved. As the oldest and loudest I was polite but loud and hyperactive. People often assume that I was ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) but in fact I was/am hyperactive with an extreme ability and need to focus. So in addition to having a child who ran around the house, falling down the stairs, I was also always talking, trying to organize everything and everyone. No wonder Mom wanted a daughter!

Chris came along at a good time for Mom. She had let go of living vicariously through her children, as many parents do. Mom was also delighted that Chris was able to play on his own, our neighbourhood changed, seven years earlier it was filled with children, by the time Chris came along there were very few playmates for Chris to hang out with. No problem for Chris, he could amuse himself, using household items he would create a parallel universe, characters, stories, households, and enter into that world with ease and joy. In those years my Mom was finding herself, testing different activities and approaches and she never had to worry about Chris who was so low-maintenance, happy and content.

My middle brother and I are like our Mom, we are driven and we want to help everyone, even if they don’t need our help. Scott has far more skills than me, he is the one you want when things go wrong, the one who can do anything and has the biggest heart in the world. He is ready to help on day one and will stay until the job is done. Both Scott and I want to help, but in our own way we have an intensity that can be a bit heavy. We can also be a little self-righteous. Not Chris, he is fun, interested in others, engaging and has deep emotional intelligence. He may not be the first to show up when you are in a crisis but he is the one you call for emotional support. He is a non-judging presence who cheers you on to be the best you that you can be.

Chris is very creative but in a very specific way. Like me he is very good without a script but struggles when he has to stick to lines. Chris can use anything in his presence to create a story and an experience to expand the imagination of those around him. Unlike many creative people Chris does not need to find things, amass things, have just the right amount of things, to be creative. Put Chris in a place and that place is sufficient to make a story come to life. I think it is a special type of genius. I call it organic genius, the ability to make an experience from what already is.

Chris has won an award here in Nova Scotia for his work on “found object theatre”. It is an art form I had never heard of until Chris told me about it. It fits Chris to the tee. Chris’ shows, his videos, his writing, reflect a creative spirit who finds characters, stories and voices that are already there, they just have yet to be discovered. He brings them to life. I include a video of such an experience where Chris and his writing partner Theo created a large Jelly Fish for Nocturne at Night in Halifax a few years ago. It neatly summarizes Chris’ spirit of adventure, creativity and fun. It’s why everyone loves Chris. Me too.