The Magic Castle, Hollywood, CA
I looked all over for some small sign of my friend. He was nowhere to be found. The places were still there, but there was no trace of him. Not his laughter. Not his spirit. Not his magic.
I sat on the bench where we talked about performance and art. I spent time at the table where we shared favorite books.
He’s just gone. I, selfishly, would have liked more time with him.
I visited Irma to get some perspective: maybe add some music to lift my heart. At the request of another guest, she played “Suicide is Painless”.
Later a stranger, who earlier in the evening had watched my show, gave me food. “I ordered this to go on impulse. I think I’m supposed to give it to you.” Chicken and veggies, quite delightful.
As I went to pay my parking, I was called back inside. A friend requested that I do a small show for his sister, who was celebrating her birthday. We found a private table and … it was good. I told my stories and did my magic for the two of them. I made a boot for her … and she cried, just a little.
It took everything I had. It was worth it. I gave them a bit of me. That’s art, right?
For you, Leeman. For your smile. For your spirit. I found a bit of it, and I gave it to someone. As it should be.
Fell asleep on the couch, not quite on purpose. Hazy sunbeam woke me up, bouncing off of the ring. The ring that doesn’t fit anymore. Doesn’t fit in any sense.
Hazy sunbeams in an airless room on a July afternoon. Friends and family and way too crowded. The bride is beautiful, glowing and ripe.
The ring dangles from a black ribbon. Tiny diamond heirloom from another failed endeavor.
I do and I do and I will and I promise. Nerves and heat. Eyes everywhere, expectant.
The sun warms the color, making it appear deep and meaningful, but the meaning has changed. Matrimony to melancholy. Once she was my song, now she is my versus.
We cry joy and there’s cake served with chaos. Later there’s mountains and sunset.
Mesmerized for a moment. When did it stop fitting? When did it stop meaning? When did joy turn bitter? When did I?
We tumbled through years, decades. Danced and hurt, healed and danced again. Then the song was over.
This memory on a ribbon.
My mother’s favorite movie was “Doctor Zhivago”; it came out the same year I was born. We watched it four times together. She told me in confidence that she didn’t believe a grand romance like that could really happen.
The second to last time we watched it, I took her to a movie theater that was having a classic movie revival week. The grandeur and the power of the cinematography, along with the incredible story made us gasp and weep openly. It’s rare to have that strong of a reaction to a movie … but this was brilliant.
The last time we viewed it, about four months before she was killed, I gave her a deluxe VHS set for her birthday. At the end of a box of tissues she told me that I had the capacity to love like that, if I’d let myself.
The love he displays is of high caliber. Not just of Lara, though that’s important, but his love of humanity, life and love itself.
Could I possibly? This is a goal worth reaching for.
May 17, 2018
Last set of the night at the W.C. Fields bar. I intended to close with the Elf boot story. There was a woman celebrating her birthday, seated in the perfect position on one side … and what all my training told me was the wrong person on the other. This one was brassy and brash, drunkish and slightly confrontational. Not the sort for a more intimate piece like this. But … she was in the perfect spot, and while I might have chosen someone else, my instinct popped up and told me to trust in my ability to control the moment, and in her as an audience member. I’ve learned to let it flow when that instinct nudges me. So i went for it.
When the routine was over, the ‘problem’ spectator was in happy tears. Hugging me and thanking me for making her evening special. “We got a babysitter for our babies and took a night for ourselves. I’ve had a great time, even though I miss them. You just made everything perfect. i’m going to put this boot on a shelf and tell that story over and over …”
Art from the heart. Believe in the power of the love in your gift. Give the best of yourself, even if you doubt the receiver worthy. Give for the sake of giving. Make art for the sake of making it.
Art and love have the power to enrich and change lives.
By Selwa Lukoskie
I may not know exactly where this road is taking me,
But I know that I’m exactly right where I’m supposed to be.
The journey is long, full of joy and pain,
But as long as you’re smiling, I’ll stand in the rain.
I’ve got nothing left to give
Other than love.
But the funny thing about that is
Love is everything.
I hope there is love where you are… (4x)
I may be a liar full of tricks but if you’ll open up your eyes,
You will see nothing but the truth behind all of my lies.
I broke every rule, and I bore every boulder,
And I carried the weight of the world on my shoulders.
Anyone can wave a wand and pull a rabbit out of a hat
And call it art, but without heart, you’ve got nothing but illusion
A Place Reserved
There are walks We will never take.
Places We’ll never see together .
Adventures We will never share.
Stories We will never create.
Conversations, never born.
I remember them all.
Thank you for playing along. Thank you for sitting in your seats and listening to my stories. Thank you for gifting me laughter, smiles, squeals of delight. Thank you for Clapping Your Hands and for bouncing up and down. Thanks for considering me a friend. Thank you for accepting the art I offer to you.
There is pain and loneliness, but never when I’m performing for you. You fill my Lonely Heart, and I feel no pain.
So, thank you.