“Manifest Destiny” by Kirin McCrory
It is Man’s natural state to expand his boundaries past the land that has been granted him by the immediate moment. Give a man an acre and he will fill it, and want two. Give him two and he will break those, and need three. It is the nature of Man to bound and be boundless, and the West seemed boundless to him until it fell at his feet like it was, indeed, destined, manifest between the two of them like a brokered deal. Give him the West and he will reach it, and what then? He rejected his coast and set out for another, stretching across the continent for a horizon, a dream of one day sliding fingers through silt at the bottom of a pan. The West seemed a thing worth taking, worth owning, a badge one might show to others: this is the West, and it is mine. I belong here.
In the Great West, men and women were Men, were Mankind, were Pioneers; there were only wagons and Walkaloosas, and there was no glass in which to fix your hair. Sure, there were skirts and trousers and children were conceived on the long journey to a new beginning, but in the East we knew where to sit and cross our legs, and on the Westward bound we all had to pull our own weight, at least. Lesser women, greater men, our differences merged into an axle, something round and spinning, all of us moving too fast to see our spokes, whirring our lines into nothing. We might’ve been dragged along or whisked off, but even we got to begin again. We ended up in the West one way or another, and no one could say we sat around and looked pretty. We never looked pretty. We only looked forward.
Zeus didn’t split my country, not in two, or even three, but he didn’t make it boundless. There are borders to this continent that seem unbreachable, and yet we found ourselves at the broken end, a bluff that dipped into waters we’d never seen, and how terrifyingly indivisible the ocean was. In a single person, there are many Wests, and many Easts, and no oceans to let us know we’ve reached them. The land is dividable. A broken wagon wheel has parts that we can see. Like a sorb-apple which is halved for pickling, or as you might divide an egg with a hair, so then are there two pieces, and one whole. But how many parts did the Pioneers lay in? When they packed their apples and eggs and pushed off for California, they had visions of the day they’d part their lips and whisper, “It is mine. I belong here.”
I don’t think I’ve ever said that in my life.
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Kirin McCrory Artist Statement:
Kirin McCrory is a playwright, dramaturg, and literary manager. She graduated summa
cum laude from Emerson College with a BA in Theatre and English, with particular emphases in
playwriting and fight choreography, and Shakespeare and violence, respectively. She is currently
pursuing her MFA in playwriting at UC Riverside. Her plays and devised works have received
awards and productions in Boston, New York, Los Angeles, central Virginia, New Orleans, and
Edinburgh. Her textual work with performance collective The American Laboratory has
appeared in galleries in Brooklyn and Los Angeles. She served as literary associate for
Endstation Theatre’s Playwrights’ Initiative for three years, and is currently the literary manager
for VanguardRep, a theatre company devoted to nurturing new works and adaptations. For more
info, check out http://www.kirinmccrory.com.