When Paul woke up this morning, he found himself in unfamiliar territory.
He considered freaking out, but chose to frolic instead.
Here you are, Top 5 Photos of the Week Fanatics. This week, there are 8.
1) I ordered business cards for myself for the first time. I’ve had them through other people’s businesses and I’ve hand made some for myself, but this was the first time I dropped into some of that vistaprint cash. I would highly recommend getting yourself business cards. They are relatively inexpensive. You can hand them out to people and get their cards too. It’s like an adult version of collecting baseball cards, except instead of Mike Piazza rookies you get other people who have business cards. It’s pretty fun. Mine also double as Wallet Art.
2) #manvan v. santa platform . #manvan picked up santa platform and put it right where it wanted it, thanks to Dan at Pianofight’s new space at 144 Taylor and Rob at Z-Below. With the help of Variety Show Death Match, Santa Platform transformed into Pope Caesar platform.
3) Saw this castle flag on the back of a Harley on a drive home from an audition this week. Did you know it’s the flag for Hamburg? I did not. Thanks Google. I may have never ever figured that out without you. Who else could I say “white castle red background flag” and they would just get it? Not either one of my brothers or my friend Adam. They aren’t as knowledgable as you, Google. No one is. No one needs to be.
4) Happiness on Mt. Tamalpais. That is Erika being awesome at flying. Every one else needs work. This turned out to be one of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen and we all danced around with these blankets and yelled into the crisp April wind.
4.5) I am this happy while we are getting blown around by the wind and yelling to the sunset.
5) I honestly had no idea the other side of these statues looked like this. I’ve only ever seen them from the street side, but I took the fancy route walking to an audition, and lo and behold, this side looks really cool. Turns out it is the Villancourt Fountain. Google, dang bro, you are so useful.6) I am not going to tell you why I am excited about this photo. Yet.
Howdy Everyone and their Mothers,
A quick read on my week. I also realize there are 6 in my top 5. So you can decide which one doesn’t count. Maybe leave a comment with your explanation of why it doesn’t count?
1) UFOs!!! Holy Cow, but seriously, there have been a lot of these military helicopters flying around SF lately. Ariel is convinced they were there because a race was happening. I am convinced this counts as Spies are Real instance # 222. What’s your thought? Leave a comment and let me know.
2) Rehearsal for Pianofight’s Variety Show Death Match with the Netheryonder String Quartet. There are only two of us, but if you dig string theory, then it’s mathematically correct. If you disagree, we could argue back and forth on the comment board. I am pretty weird to argue with though cause sometimes facts aren’t important to me. Thanks Cigdem! But seriously, try telling me I’m not made of vibrating little strings and I will tell you I’ll be made of light instead.
3) Ariel got into Mills College for Book Arts and Creative Writing. She chose Poetry as her writing emphasis. Hooray Ariel! Photo is from sharing time with faculty last night, where we met a ton of interesting people and I was in the same room with the most writers as I ever have been. That sentence sounds wrong. Don’t you judge me, writers who i was have been in the same room with being. Or do, and leave a comment with how that can be made English.3) Dave Mihaly’s Shimmering Leaves Orchestra at the Revolution Cafe in the Mission last night. Dave Mihaly is a genius and friend. Press play & music will play. Leave a comment and I’ll share it with Dave.
4) Sketch from dinner at Mills College. Was thinking of making a sign like this for when I got hungry again. The napkin is all crinkled up now but if you want to buy it, lmk. Price is totally negotiable. If you think it sounds crazy to buy a napkin drawing from me, don’t worry, I’m just kidding. If you are contemplating buying it, I am seriously thinking it could be a solid investment… just sayin. One of One! Original!!! Excitement! Humor!
5) Had a play date with aforementioned Mr. Dave Mihaly Friday morning. We went to the De Young Museum and had coffee and drew on a chalkboard they had on display, then enjoyed making some music and talking together back at his place over scrambled eggs and kale and water colors he made while on a trip through Asia. We just looked at the watercolors, but ate the kale and eggs. He also gave me a copy of the I Ching, which I know nothing about, but am about to find out about by reading some of the I Ching. Maybe I’ll share something about it later. As long as my famous shoulder doesn’t get in the way.
I was tempted today to do another TOP 10 List, that was a pretty easy and (nearly) concise way to communicate to the whole world the travels and travails of my day and get in a blog post and a poem at the same time, but I immediately decided against it. How can we really tell which moments will qualify? Especially so early in the day. Yesterday, I left out an important, maybe the most important, event of my day. I ran into my friend and former roommate, Sarah, who I hadn’t seen in just over 3 years. We were neighbors in Memphis and moved out to San Francisco together in 2009. Both of us were (and still are) couples with dogs, and serendipitously decided to move to SF at the same time, so what better idea than to live together? Sarah and her boyfriend, Sean, found a place on Lucky Street, a tiny two-block alleyway in the Mission, and Ariel and I managed to arrive on International Friendship Day (August 2 of 2009, August 4 of this year – CELEBRATE IT!). After a 6 month stint of road-tripping, Ariel and I were changing permanent addresses from Hope Street in Brooklyn to Lucky Street in San Francisco. Life couldn’t get any better. I remember getting the phone call that S&S had found a place. I was on the beach with my family in Florida and started jumping for joy, singing, “If you need me, I’ll be at 39 Lucky Street, the sunniest part, of the sunniest part, of San Francisco!” (We don’t live there anymore, for anyone with the weird desire to stalk me.) But the why of us not living there is at the crux of today’s post. We had a disagreement. Amongst roommates, this is a common thing to do. Humans don’t always agree with everything each other says and/or do-s, and living together and sharing space and seeing each other constantly is maybe the quickest way to find out just how much you are able to disagree. Long story short, Ariel & I moved out rather suddenly. Just as we had left Memphis rather suddenly, and in a different way, just as we had gotten engaged rather suddenly. (I didn’t even have a ring, but that is a different story for a different day.) Our lives have often been ruled more by impulse than rationale.
When Ariel & I decided to find our own place, I did not expect that it would take three years of basic radio silence with our old roommates to even get the slightest rekindling of communication. When Sarah and I ran into each other yesterday, we were both so happy and surprised to see each other. After the shock of the “accidental” meeting, I could sense relief washing over both of us. We both admitted to thinking of and wondering about each other often, and easing our curiosity by mildly facebook stalking each other, which is an easy and terrible thing to do. Why couldn’t we just reach out? Why would it take 3 years & a chance meeting to reunite? My obvious answer is fear. Fear of admitting my own fault in the situation, fear of the other holding on tightly to what I so badly wanted to let go, fear of flying, fear. And the reuniting, how could that happen? Like two magnets attracting each other slowly but surely, our paths have already crossed so many times and it was just a matter of time before they crossed again. One of the funniest parts was that she was wearing a shirt that we had made together on a craft day at our house. It was a a pterodactyl surrounded by lightning bolts, a fun shirt made with stencils and fabric paint, a solid memento of the good times we have shared together. I felt like we were the pterodactyl and the lightning bolts around her collar were the magnets bringing us together, and I’m thankful for it.
When I was a teacher in Tennessee (I taught high school theatre for one year directly out of college), one of my favorite improv warm-up games to play with the students was one called “My Fault.” We would begin by walking around the room, weaving in and out of each other, practicing seeing and being seen, and at some point I would introduce a ball into the equation. Students were instructed to make eye contact and give a gentle, underhand toss. If the ball hit the ground, both the tosser and the potential tossee would have to say “my fault” and sit out until the next round. These were the only rules of the game, and we would make things more complicated by adding more balls and switching speeds (If I remember correctly, I used a scale from 1-10 to describe how fast we would move). But regardless of how complicated we tried to make the game, the lesson remained simple: admit fault and move on. A participant may feel resistance, but better a little inner struggle than an outward blame battle.
I’ve gone back and forth on this as an appropriate notion with which to approach life, and have my own hangups about guilt and fault, partly stemming from growing up in a church that asked me to pray a “sinner’s prayer” regardless of how perfect I thought I had been. The older that I get, though, the more I recognize the therapeutic value of admitting imperfection. Of being present with it. OK with it. It eases. Being whole and honest with myself about my idiosyncrasies and shortcomings makes communication easier, both internally and externally. I recognized the resistance the students would feel when it was so obviously not their fault. It didn’t matter if “she didn’t make eye contact,” or “he did that on purpose” (out of flirtation usually rather than spite). My response was simple: “say my fault and sit down.” One of the great rewards of a teacher is watching students grow, and learning from that growth, both of which I did. I watched them realize that resistance was not only futile, but they would get to come back to the game faster if they just followed the rules. I watched it get easier for them. I watched myself have the same resistance and I watched it begin to melt away inside myself. The resistance melts away even now.
None of us are perfect in any given situation, it’s the collective celebration of this that makes humanity, humanity. It takes forgiveness of self and of the other to begin the healing process. Sure, it may leave a scar, but better that than an open wound. And while this is no guarantee that the other party will be all bread an butter about the issue, air is made clearer. Relish in each others’ imperfections as you relish in your own. Celebrate them as you celebrate yourself. Some burden will be lifted, even if it is not expressed, the burden of being a human will be acknowledged. The burden that we all share. That we can share, if we are willing.
An exercise, if you have read this far, is to dig through your memory and choose a relationship gone awry or aloof, and allow yourself to admit fault in the situation. If you can’t think of a relationship with another, what about your relationship with yourself? Keep in mind that the goal is not self-flagellation, the goal is releasing the burden of perfection.
Start by keeping that other in mind, even if that other is yourself, and thinking the words “My fault.” Literally think it now.
Do you feel it?
Try physically speaking the words out loud.
With your lips and teeth and tongue and breath,
You can do it now, even quietly by yourself.
While openly and honestly thinking or speaking these words, allow forgiveness and acceptance to envelop you. Such a simple complex little phrase. If you are feeling especially brave, reach out to the other person, speak the words to them. “My fault.”
Hey Sarah, hey Sean, hey Nico, hey Isaiah, hey Rufus, hey Travis, hey Matt, hey Steve, hey Lane, hey Yonah, hey you:
“I love you.”
PS – Here is a demo recording from February in Memphis I made with my sister Anna, my brother Alex, and my impromptu sister, Laiken. It’s a work in progress, a meditation on these ideas, even if I didn’t know it exactly at that time.
PPS – I love you
Motion heard from above.
The whistling of boats, the
patterns of feet sifting through
the sandy rocky ground,
these sounds are no match for your sight.
Unworthy! Oh holy length of majestic ocean,
unworthy am I to swim your distance,
I drink you in with eyes opened.
Steady, steady rhythm.
Current aimed inward,
below these cliffs I dare not call mine.
End of Land,
Beginning of Sea.
Just the place you’ve been looking for. Here, there and everywhere. Amongst flowers and seeds falling to the earth like raindrops, like feathers floating down down down into some sort of wrrreckage of twisted metal spines. The breath, moving slowly, oscillating even, round and round in circles as it floats past something that may have never been seen. Pushing beyond the limits of comfort into a place where the silence speaks. The words, lost amongst berries and flowers and the buzzing of spring bees. We sit and watch and wait and he says a word or two. She says something back. It goes on and on like this until the fear strikes. Rapidly and without warning. Pacing about in a brain so stopped up it could just stoop on the front stoop all the day long.
The way you look tonight is on the radio and I think to myself some thoughts I don’t share. I take back promises I made and hold them far too close. To the hip or chest or any which way but out, out there in the wild abyss. The far reaching sentence. The way we once were. It just stares back without any warning, just sits and stares with its two or three little eyes. So hard to tell from this distance. It is palpable, the it is. Whichever one may wander along into certain trapped doom, but then work its way out of the crevasse. With a lip tilting accent so difficult to comprehend. But we listen anyway. We hear the words being spoken. Yes, in this very moment now, beyond the now that was when now used to be then and then became now and we tumble forward on sticky legs, the hairs all twisted together amongst the caps of the knees. “I’ve been here before,” says one to the other. A simple chuckle, a sigh of relief. The recognizability and the comfort that comes with. Just standing right beside, like an old wife in a pretty dress. It is long and beneath her knees. Nearly reaches her elbows and her ankles. The size is not listed, it is hand made. “A fine garment,” she speaks into the mirror’s microphone. The crowd awaits her every word. But she keeps silent. Silence speaks. It speaks of the love of mountain and walking and legs and wind blowing just enough to keep this layer on. Thanks and thankful for that. “You broke her heart,” my mother would say, but she had no idea of whom. Who, wandering around downtown, has a particular handle on the type of sleep one needs to get in order to function on a daily basis. Oh, hi hi ho ho, we shall see, where we walked from the trees to the rocks to the improbably white sands of eternal. The figuring it out.
Like a puzzle piece hidden between two rocks. The only victim is the seeker. The only love is to fall asleep into our sleep. The gratitude is believable, I’ve seen it. Which e’er way you turn, be obliged by the spirits of that turn. Another language must be pursued. All of which, we can end the world and hoping enough of that was real or realistic. The door is open and there is light on both sides. The sleep is coming beside the eyes sinking back into another space. The time is right, the time is right now.