“It’s so much darker when a light goes out than it would have been if it had never shone.” ~ John Steinbeck
Today I lost two friends to Death. One who went quieter than a gentleman should and one who sprinted to it like a long absent friend. Both of these losses rend my heart and make me question the logic of such a short, intense life. Is this selfishness? I want my friends to remain alive and healthy. I want my inspirations to be super-human and outlive me …
These men and women made my world a better place. Myself and scores more like me. They touched hearts and spread love and it seems frighteningly unfair that they should exit this existence.
So what is an artist to do?
Take the inspiration and keep walking my road. Build art that will last beyond my timeline. Uplift, assist and give of my best. Live beyond logic. Take the pain of my mutilated heart and turn it into energy … energy and magic that other wounded hearts need.
This heals me, as well. Not being paralyzed by the grief. Each step along the road brings new experiences, so live … live another day, even if only to see what’s next.
Lastly … touch. Help those that need healing. Break hearts that are too hard and show them how powerful compassion can be.
Grieve … get that done, it’s important. Then celebrate. Celebrate their lives and how they affected yours. Life is not in vain. Love is not a punchline.
Superman. In the seventies, when I discovered comics, Supe was my go-to. Action comics, The Brave & the Bold, Justice League, Legion of Superheroes … if Kal-El was in it, I had to read it. My favorite stories were from a writer called Elliot S! Maggin. He understood Kal, Superman and Clark Kent. He displayed the subtleties and friction between those three men.
Maggin wrote several Superman novelization paperbacks. One of those I read over and over until it literally fell to pieces. It spoke to me in a way I didn’t know was valuable until many years later. I’m thinking now that I realized the abuse I was under and the book helped me believe in me, but definitely under the surface.
It was called ‘Miracle Monday’. There’s a subplot about visitors from the future and battling a demon, but the meat of the story is the utter defeat of Superman. Not through overwhelming brute force, but psychologically. The main villain convinces Kal-El that he does not belong among the people of Earth. He destroys Superman emotionally.
Superman abandons Clark Kent and flies to the top of the world to live in solitude. Grieving and feeling sorry for himself, he opens his ears to the entire world, listening. After a moment, he discovers the perfect rhythmic song of the world. The footsteps of a man crossing the street in New York are in rhythm with a band rehearsing in a garage in London, and so on. Fascinated, he shifts to listen more intently. Rocks that he disturbs tumble into a gorge and fall in sync with a dancer in Mexico.
Superman realizes he is a part of the music of the planet and … well, you know. He’s Superman.
All of that to say: So are you. You are a superhero to someone. Your very heartbeat is a part of the lives of the people around you.
Keep seeking truth. Keep breathing. You are a valuable part of us.
The past year has been draining. Emotionally, physically … I am seeking help in the form of professional counsel and friends.
The people I relied upon for inspiration have removed their support. I’m not asking for pity, I can see my own mistakes leading to their decision, and I do hope for forgiveness and love, in time. This depression has led to my business and art faltering. The responsibilities I have are suffering and I’m all but broke, financially.
I have been bearing my burdens and trying not to wear them on my sleeve. Tonight, I am peaceful, thanks in large part to a friend with a smile and food. Food for my mouth and for my spirit. I will overcome this, I will book the shows I need (in abundance) and I will make art direct from my green, magic heart. I will take care of those who need, and … I will do card tricks that may well change your world for the better.
I will. I have faith that, though my road is rocky, it is still MY ROAD.
Pray for me, readers. Pray for continued strength, patience and understanding.
I hope that there’s love where you are.
My first fully public show of 2016 was for the Lili VonSchtupp’s ‘Monday Night Tease show. Five fantastic dancers. one hilarious host and me … and I did card tricks.
That’s what I do, you know? The cards are my canvas.
And then, once again I took off my clothes and asked a big room of strangers to write their burdens on my skin. Way out of my comfort zone, far from home. (Of course, I had a fantastic support team, people that love me and care for me, but still …) If you are unfamiliar with this act of mine, here’s a description of a prior night: Blank Space
The results are powerful. Tears, thank yous … lots of personal stories. My art … my craft genuinely touched people. We bonded and I made some amazing new friends. I want to perform this again and again.
Brian C. Janes photographed the event, and the stories those pictures tell is outstanding. See more of his work at bcjmedia.com
Here is a small gallery of my portion of the show. I hope it speaks to you.
The Naked Truth
You could make the argument that 2015 was a bad year. I mean … it started off with my wife having emergency surgery …
False rumors and gossip destroyed some precious relationships. I let myself and some dear people down with that whole contest thing. I sank into depression, got voluntary/ involuntarily taken in for suicide observation and came close to ruining my ‘career’.
I learned and I grew. All of these things forged me deeper. I honestly believe that hardship is needed for real growth. So I’m thankful for my struggle.
I’m going to forgive myself. I’m going to hope for forgiveness from others. I’m going to work hard and I’m going to strive to spread a message of love with my mouth and with my actions.
I can’t tell the future, but I’m going to stay on this path. No matter what.
2016. Day One.