The Rev. Casey dunsworth

serves as Associate Campus Pastor to the Belfry, the Lutheran-Episcopal Campus Ministry to UC Davis

and as Program Director for LEVN, the Lutheran Episcopal Volunteer Network.

A Thank You Note to Lin-Manuel Miranda

Dear Lin-Manuel Miranda,

It seems absurd to send words to you. Whichever words I choose and whatever order I put them in, you could do it better, I'm sure of it. To me, words are everything. Sir, your words are everything.

Moments ago, I finished listening to the NPR stream of Hamilton and I am convinced for the second time that you've written a musical meant to change me. I first heard In the Heights several years ago and I last heard In the Heights sometime last week. When I sing along with it, I sing every part (of course not the harmonies all at once, that'd be magic) because the layers of words and notes and rhymes and themes are just too intricate to discriminate against. I cannot adequately express this.

This evening, as I sat down to experience Hamilton, I could hardly contain myself. My brain, accustomed to your sounds, tried to sing along, tried to anticipate, tried to hear Usnavi in the chorus. And did, to the extent that to hear Usnavi in the chorus is to hear Lin-Manuel Miranda in the chorus.

Each time I heard a character's motif come through, in song after song, I said, "damn!" out loud, so impressed by your incredible skill. Not surprised in any sense--if you cannot already tell, I revere you, deeply--but as line after line wove itself into this hip-hop history lesson I threw up my hands. Each lilting syllable, each syncopated storyline...I'm laughing at myself because I can't even put together a sentence to try to explain to you how much I love your ability to put together sentences!

I suppose at some point in a thank you note it is customary to say thank you. Thank you for teaching me. Thank you for getting under my skin and into my lungs, rattling my bones and making me feel inexplicably human in this music. Thank you for showing this Californian how the city of New York has crossed time and space to be the place all these people call home. Thank you for giving such large pieces of yourself in these performances. Thank you for writing. Thank you.

xo Case

Hamilton, again. Except Burr.

Abortion, actually.