Tag Archives: truth

Gold

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.

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For Wesley

“There’s one more kid that will never go to school, never get to fall in love, never get to be cool.” ~ Neil Young

This isn’t going to be well written. I’m filled with grief and I’m mourning a life that was way too short.

I do work and donate time and money to the MDA. I’m just telling you, I’m not bragging. I donate when i don’t think I can afford to. I give time and performance when i could honestly use the money. It’s the one kid’s show that I do, ever. Once a year: the MDA summer camp. Believe me when i tell you that it is hard work, and an absolute joy, a true honor.

I love those kids. I love the counselors. I love the organization and the back breaking work they do for these awesome young humans.

and this love, as most things do, comes with a price. Time and money, sure. Sacrifice, yes … but the kind of sacrifice that is a pleasure to make. The steepest price is death. These children have different forms of Muscular Dystrophy. They waste away. They fight, and they struggle and they live the best possible life they can. And the fight gets lost, and the cost is life.

I lost one today. I got the news via Facebook and a friend. This boy had spark, he was energetic and joyful and funny. He was Into all the activities and quick witted and … I cried in the pain of losing him.

“His pain is over. His suffering is at an end.”

Yeah. Okay. Soon another will follow him. and another, and another. Because there’s not a cure right now. In this enlightened, advanced day and age, why are we still fighting so bitterly over imaginary lines, ideology, dogma, when we could direct that energy into love and healing? I know … I sound naive and childish. Perhaps.

Right now all I see is a boy that should be feeling those awkward growing pains, instead of suffering from literally withering away. I boy that should be alive and vital, and instead … is dead.

I lost a bit of my heart and softness today, and it feels like I’ve already scraped myself thin. I wept hard and quietly and briefly (my beloved roomie said that I had BETTER cry more than that when she goes. Made me laugh.) And now I feel a little more hollow. I’ve had several surprise breakdowns.

I’m going to continue to fight for them, the remaining. I’m going to donate and advocate for love and healing and cures .. and kids in camps.

Goodnight, Wesley. This one is for you, champ.

Support the MDA: http://www2.mda.org/goto/memorymakers

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Redemption

“What’s broken can be mended. What’s hurt can be healed. No matter how dark it gets, the sun’s going to rise again.” ~ Dr. Meredith Grey

The plot line or trope or whatever you would call it that I enjoy most in stories is the redemption narrative. I first encountered it in ‘Watership Down’ via Bigwig. A mild arc, but it spoke to me nonetheless.

Then Vader, and later still Shawshank, and countless others; the most powerful being ‘The Wrestler’. The title character seeks redemption and forgiveness from his daughter, and does not get it. So he pulls it from inside himself.

Redemption: Coming from the dark and finding the light, the love … the redemption of a new and better life.

This speaks to me in my life because a redemption narrative says: no matter how broken or wrong or bad or stupid or ridiculous or harmful or sad or terrible you are … you can atone.

There is still a road back. It might be rocky and steep, complicated and messy. Walking it may take your entire life. You may lose your foothold, slip and fall back into the abyss, but the wall is still there. The ascent is still there. Hard is not the same as impossible.

You are never too far gone. You are never beyond saving.

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March 6, 2018

I got some bad news early in the day, and i’ll talk about that later, when i can discuss it rationally, but what I want to report to day is this:
I went to the Castle last night. I had to force myself to get dressed and drive over, because my brain was trying to tell me it was pointless. (You are not your mind) Once I got there, I enjoyed a couple of shows and had a pleasant conversation with Handsome Jack. (He’s bewildered that ‘Fool Us’ has not picked me up.)

And then …  a group of enthusiastic young people gathered around the table I was sitting at and requested a short show. “People tell us you are fun!” So I did my thing; we made art together and their energy translated into renewing laughter and loud astonishment. I refilled my spirit. I found out later that they were the cast of ‘Aladdin‘ .

and then … just before packing up to go home, a gentleman approached me, almost shyly. He told me he was a fan of my work, and wanted to chat for a moment. We talked about card tricks and apartheid, the Magic Castle and Trevor Noah.  He was from South Africa, and he told me that a friend had shared my blog with him. He was moved by my description and pictures from ‘The Naked Truth’, and he related that he was inspired by my “bold pursuit of art’.

A man from South Africa was moved to deeper love and creativity by my art and my words.

You don’t know (and you may never know) who you are affecting and how. Be true. Art hard. Do what you were made to do, and change the world.

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November 18, 2017

I was going to sit this season out. Just let it slide by and focus on other things. Then I was gifted with a ticket, so i put on my armor and went to the final weekend of the Carolina Renaissance Festival. Former home of Hannibal the Liar.

It was odd, being on the other side of the stage, playing the part of a patron. Old cast-mates greeted me with love and hugs, and I was immediately welcome. I saw shows i never got to see as a performer, I saw the first joust I’ve seen in over 3 years. I saw love and joy being dealt right out on the street. I watched a brand-new game get created. I danced a little. I rocked out with the Craic! I turned my face up to the surprisingly warm November sunshine. I was home, even though I wasn’t performing. (That’s kinda alien to me. They loved me without anything other than simple love in return. They just … loved Me. For Me.)

So I’m learning. Perhaps i do have some value. A good friend slightly drunkenly told me how much I meant to her life, her daughter’s life … another told me of how her father, who lives in basic solitude, had heard of me somewhere.

I went to dinner with the Angels, laughed and dished and ate … then came home to continue work on the ‘new thing’. I feel loved. I feel confident. It’s a really good day.

Off topic, but important: The new book is now available on Amazon, both in Paperback and on Kindle.

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A Bar

Musing thoughts on a surrealistic bar. You know … you’ve heard about it.

There are hundreds of ‘guy walks into a bar’ jokes, there’s even a youTube channel dedicated to them. An establishment that could be a real bar. A guy walks in, or a girl (usually blonde), A minister, a priest, and a rabbi, and some humorous exchange takes place.

But where is the surreal bar, and what does it look like? The one where a horse walks in, or a bear, a sandwich, a piece of string. How startling and fun it must be, not to mention Happy Hour!

For me that bar looks the same in every joke: A room of about 20 feet square, the bar itself on the left and a bit too close to the door. Tables are scattered throughout. The barkeep and timeline is around just prior to prohibition, and the clientele is pretty sparse. (Except for the odd crab, sipping his beer in the corner)

What does the bar look like to you? Would you buy the depressed horse a beer?

Best made the observation earlier: Bars are the place you go to drink poison out of fancy glasses. And I’ve justified it in the past because the poison took the edge off the pain, helped me bear the loss. (see what i did there?)

Have I been the weird, persistent piece of string? Not me. I’m a frayed knot.

h

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Doubt truth to be a liar; But never doubt I love.

The Monday Night Tease Adventure, Part Four.

And then it was simply time to start. The house lights went down, the stage lights came up, and we simply did our jobs. Some of the memories are faded, but there are some crystal-clear photographs in my mind.  I had the advantage of seeing the stage and the audience through the entire program. I won’t be able to fully capture the experience of being there, but I can give you my perspective, and my feelings. Here’s how the show looked to me, sitting up in the box, stage right.

Tuba Heatherton opened with the Monday Night Tease theme song, and Lili took her place in the MC spot. She’s funny, brash, offensive, and the best damned MC I’ve ever worked with. Bo Toxic got things going with leather and Joan Jett. All punk attitude and heavy-metal sexuality. Oh Olive reprises a Charlie Brown number, portraying Linus … I’ve never seen a ‘security blanket’ live up to its name quite like that. As she walked off stage, she screwed her thumb into her mouth and ruined my childhood.

Rob … Rob the Balloon Guy. I’m not going to describe this act, because you need to see it live, and i hope you’ll get the opportunity. I’ll just say that this creative use of folding chair and balloons will never be outdone. I’ve seen it three times now, and I laugh myself to tears every time. Caramel Knowledge portrayed Nick Fury like Samuel L. Jackson only wishes he could, and Egypt Black Knyle closed out the first half with ‘Question of U’, one of my favorite deep-cut Prince songs. (Christ, I miss him.) In the midst of all the awesome shenanigans, Patrick the Bank Robber ‘called’ Lili to wish her a fond farewell. It was funny .. but i could feel her holding back emotions.

Intermission and i got a few minutes with Andrea, which helped me focus. The show was reportedly going as well as I thought it was, and she seemed quite happy. I probably wasn’t good company, because … well, reasons.

My friend in atheism Heather Henderson opened set two with an unabashed act as a nun, using multimedia and ‘Dear God’ as her music. This was the point when the show really pulled me in. Eddie kept checking to make sure I was cool … love that clown. Nikita Bitch Project did her killer Godzilla act, Eddie owned the room in the way only he can, and Sheila Starr Siani put me in a spiritual mood with another powerful Prince song: ‘Thieves in the Temple’.

Interlude, only in my head. This is a room full of love. Everyone here is supportive and giving and SO enthusiastic about everyone else doing well. No thieves in this temple, Sir. It’s brimming with love and talent and beauty.

Matt Finish closed out the musical numbers with the most erotic version of ‘Dontcha’ I’ve ever witnessed. The attitude, the confidence, the magnificence of his performance made me almost wish I didn’t have to follow him. Seriously, people, do you see how beautiful he is? How flawless his body is? I’m supposed to go and be vulnerable and peel off my own shirt after that guy? I … can’t. I’ll do a few card tricks and pay tribute to Lili and get everyone really happy and use my skills as a speaker and magician and just … not do the Naked Truth. I’m ashamed.

Later, in a quiet moment, I asked Matt why he didn’t write anything on me. His reply was: “No one has ever said anything that could hurt me.” Damn, son.

I was introduced. I don’t remember walking on … I know I did card tricks and I remember realizing that I had to do ‘Naked Truth’. This room, this moment, was exactly the reason i created the thing in the first place. I need to give this to Them. I need it for me, and I’m the only one who can do this. I stripped. I stood, sweaty and nearly naked under unforgiving lights and my music played and I stretched out my arms and I let them come. And I felt fear in the mass of people around me. And sharpie ink stings my skin, so I felt each word burning. And they wept, adn i found my voice trying to comfort them. “It’s alright, I’ve got you. I see you.” And some couldn’t come, it was too much, too real, so they stayed in their place and lent me strength and some came after and told me their words. They were not ready to burden me fully with them, but I had helped in the simple act of helping the others, and they could bear their burden a little easier.

Maybe it sounds woo and new-age or silly. But I can just tell you it was real. To everyone in the room, and especially to me, with my shoulders heavy and my skin on fire, it was real. It was love.

They gave me their fear and they gave me their pain and, when they were done, I spoke and lifted the hearts back to celebration. Couldn’t tell you what I said, but the right words were there for me. (On stage, they always are.) Eddie unleashed a barrage of balloons and the music came up and there was dancing, and Lili was snapping selfies with everyone, tears in her eyes and that dangerous grin she has.

I said goodnight to my friend, and wished for a bit more time. So many things to talk about, but –

We danced, and then we feasted, and we bragged and we complimented and we took photos and made silver until the wee hours. The doors closed, and we solemnly walked toward new adventures.

I cannot imagine how she feels, I can only try to be a friend and a comfort. She’s not done, not by any means, just because this chapter is closed. Lili and i spent most of the next day discussing everything: the past, the future, how to survive the present … she recorded some of it. You can listen in here.

Monday Night Tease affected thousands, changed the world for the better, and we put her to bed right. I’ll carry this honor and tell this story for the rest of my life.

And I swear it’s all true.

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