In the Meantime

Two hours of delightful respite with 'HappinessIsTrending'

By Diane Smith

If it bleeds it leads. #HappinessIsTrending. Dolly Parton is freaking awesome. Stay with me here, I’m going to pull these together.

You’ve no doubt noticed that media reports pulsating with lurid tales of disaster are pretty much everywhere these days. Now, I’m a big fan and defender of technology. I believe new technologies have the potential to improve the daily lives of many of us in profound ways, particularly those of us living off the beaten path. As with everything though, there’s a downside. Social media outlets have adopted the “if it bleeds it leads” mentality with such vigor and success that many of us are feeling besieged and poorly equipped to deal in a world that appears to be going to the dogs pretty swiftly. So, what’s the solution?

Well that brings us to #HappinessIsTrending. Alpine Theatre Project’s recent production, “HappinessIsTrending,” was two hours of delightful respite and reset. Alpine Theatre Project is one of small town America’s great jewels, bringing Broadway talent, production, and education to the Flathead Valley throughout the year. ATP leads through example and outreach, showing other artists what’s possible in out of the way places. It’s a bold, risky proposition and each year they pull it off with guts, hard work, and remarkable vision.

One of the songs performed at #HappinessIsTrending was “In the Meantime” by the incomparable Dolly Parton. Dolly Parton, who grew up in rural Appalachia, is one of my personal heroes. She’s an amazing performer and businessperson whose songs often convey profound wisdom. Like “In the Meantime, released in 2011:

“Well we rant and we rave about the good old days and how different it was back then,

Well the greatest days we’ve ever known are the days we’re living in

Well we worry about earthquakes, aliens from outer space, nuclear holocaust

Well we’re so consumed with the fear of dying; the joy of living is lost

In the meantime, in between time, let us make time to make amends

Lead the good life, just treat this planet right

And try to all be friends and say with me again

Think about life, think about living

Think about love, caring and giving…

Technically we’ve come so far

But still we wonder who we are

The farther along we go.”

That Dolly Parton song was performed by a brilliant theater company, on a community supported stage in a small Montana town by amazing performers from around the world. It reminded me that, despite all the gloom and doom that’s inundating us these days, in this moment, life is pretty good.

Hopefully as this summer winds down, #HappinessIsTrending for all of you. If not, think about replacing some of your “if it bleeds it leads” media with a Dolly Parton tune like “In the Meantime. You won’t regret it.