Wednesday, September 2, 2009

'Lightning in My Pocket, Thunder in My Soul'

I'm sitting under the cottonwood trees in lower Boulder tonight, the wind is blowing hard through the trees, home after driving five hours from Salt Lake City. I spent the day at a Utah Humanities Council workshop, where they are preparing to bring a Smithsonian Exhibit on 'roots music' to our little town, it was an amazing workshop. I sat there, as each of the 'roots music' musicians were named and talked about, realizing that each of these musicians are in my own song list, it felt good to be so connected to these musicians, and to have all of these wonderful ideas to share with this group of people. I have to say, The Utah Humanities Council really have 'it' together, a group of people who are truly committed to 'spreading the gospel' of music and history. It gave me a renewed sense of hope, so often in Arizona I would go to these 'things' and think that these people don't give a sh**t about what they are talking about--another government agency gone asunder, but this group was really alive with ideas and, again, commitment about what they where doing. I was a little amazed that I was there... 

Tomorrow morning at 6am., I have to turn around and drive to Richfield, Utah, to face another government agency about me hitting a deer, (which I reported for my insurance company) to the tune of two tickets for not having the information on my person. Ridiculous highway patrol claptrap, no one in law enforcement believes anything you say anymore... and then, with a day of preparation, I will drive to San Francisco for my two weeks of shows, and, I admit, a little bit of tension. LA is one city to do theatre in, San Francisco is quite another, I'll have to prepare myself with some gusto to pull off these shows, but there is definitely a 'buzz' on the show. The San Francisco Guardian has been asking me questions for a couple of days to do a 'preview' article on the show, which really puts the 'pressure' on. I love 'real' journalists though, the ones that get 'all' the information, even if the article is short. This journalist was very thorough, preparing ten really tough questions for me to answer. It was refreshing, causing me to dig deep about what I was taking to that city. I'm definitely feeling the apprehension of 'the road' and this bohemian lifestyle. I think I mentioned that I was driving around using a cup full of dimes and nickels to pay for things, (my quarters where gone), but those of you who know what that's like will understand. Feast or famine. Luckily, my patron saint came through, (just tonight), with another grant to 'get me on the road'.  Yesterday, I called Kurt in NYC to tell him of my plight, and ironically, he let me hear the sound of the change in his sock, which he was taking to the grocery store for some 'survival' food.  Although he just sold a book with a fifty thousand dollar budget, he was scrambling until the check arrived. I LOVE these stories. Friends, patrons, and family, if you are going to 'stay the course' and be an artist, you must adhere to this lifestyle, and the 'adventure' ensues. I read in the LA Times the story of Samuel Beckett, who edited  the final 'gallies' for 'Finnian's Wake' by James Joyce for a hundred pounds and three used ties so that he could survive. It doesn't change, but you know what? I'm amazed at the cognizant understanding of a community to come through for an artist at the 'final hour'. Stay the course, you with 'marrow in your bones', you with the mandate to create, to fall, only to rise again. And remember, "An artist life is the best weight loss program out there, keep a bag of pinto beans in your cupboard for the lean times..." 

So, here I go, back again to the coast of California, where I spent some time as a young playwright, wandering the redwoods, living in a residency hotel in San Rafael, and once again, living as though I had nothing to lose. Then, of course, I had youth on my side, but now I have the experience of a 'life lived', and really, I know that if I died tonight, I have 'really' lived! I have experienced the pain of each crossroad, watched the lightning as it struck the tree to my left, I have taken the road with the thorns on the ground, and I have lived life with a 'view for today'. I live each day fearless, even when my body is wracked with pain. Today, I watched the moon rise from the mountains, with a lightning storm at its feet, today, I am alive... put that in your book! 

And to DB, whose life is full of so much inspiration, I am listening to you, my friend, and I feel your spirit, your words are wings on my 'one pair of shoes', I so appreciate your comments, so appreciate your struggle, and so appreciate your life. I am continuing to carry the torch of 'the actor', and look forward to your encouraging words. "don't let the bastards get to you," you are a worthy artist, I can feel it with each of your memories". And remember, memories are not just days gone by, to me, they live as though they are happening now, stay the course and be strong. 

To others, (especially my mother, and my aunts), you have taught me the strength of 'a character', and I so appreciate your support and words... I was never that talented in what I do, but in the end, I will say that I made a commitment to this kind of life and I stuck with it, because you said things that 'made a difference'. As you can probably see by now, I am in a zone of acceptance, this is what I am, and I am content, even though there is no change left in the cups... 

"my god, my god, poverty takes so much time, I'd rather be painting..." 

de kooning.

5 comments:

caroline said...

There under the falling sky may you fly, Raymond. Like Shirley Temple's mother is rumored to have said to her little girl before each performance, "Sparkle!" (I like it better than break a leg -grin-)

kanyonlandking-annk.blogspot.com said...

Love that title...live up to it!
I'm excited about the performances in SF. People move about you and enrich your life!

LaRena said...

Your prose is very touching Raymond. I can plainly see the cotton woodds as you write and smell the distant storm previewed by the mighty flashes of lighting. Lower Boulder is a place like no other, and it is good you are launching your exciting journey from there. May the beautiful city of San Francisco be very good to you. You are stalwart and strong. "Stay the Course" I love your spirit as well as how hard you have worked with your talent. You have touched many lives already and will reach many more in a positive way. May your cup always be full. Hugs and Blessings for a safe course of travel, and may all the suicidal deer stay out of your path.

Gerry said...

I see on the family site that Mason Lyman has been arrested again for drug possession. Some were wondering if he had anything to do with the growing of prodiguous amounts of marijuana on the Boulder Mountain. I'd a lot rather have a son involved in the quixotic occupation of acting, song writing, and taking shows on the road. Keep on truckin'. Mom

DB said...

Thank you for those kind words Raymond. A little tension is a noble thing - it's five before places. It's not about fulfilling the expectations of any journalist, good or not. It's about entertaining people, with beauty, ideas, love, freshness and spontaneity. It's about doing your show because it's good and you know it is, and you believe in it. That's what I think.

DB