Tuesday, July 15, 2014


Whoa!  Did you see that?  I'm just gonna look over here for a minute, and then I'll get back to work.  And now it's time to...

Holy cow!  That's amazing.  I need to read this article.  But I'll bookmark it and save it for later.  I'll read it later.  And I'll read this one later, and this one, and this one.  If I bookmark it, I'll forget about it, so I'll email the link to myself.  I'll email all these as links.

Wow, look at all the emails in my inbox.  Oh...they're from me.  Reminding me to read these articles which have nothing to do with anything I'm doing.  They seemed interesting at the time.  Why did I want to read that article again?  Delete.  Delete.  Delete.

Facebook!  Just five minutes to see how great everyone else's life is.  Everyone gets to go on vacation but me. Everyone is having the best summer and I'm just sitting here writing and complaining how hot it is.  But I'd never complain on Facebook.  I don't want people to think I'm not having a great time.

Let me check my calendar.  Whoops...that deadline is coming up.  I'd better get to work.  But let me just do a little online shopping first.  I wanted to check out that one website that have brand name shoes for discount prices and free shipping.  Wait, I can't afford to buy any shoes.  I'll just browse a little bit and then I'll get to work.

I'm getting to work.

I'm hungry.

I left dishes in the sink.

I have so much laundry to do.

I need to Google that restaurant so I can read their menu.

I should take a break.  Take a walk.  Get out from behind this desk.  

I'm hungry.

I'm tired.

It's 5pm.  I think I'm done for the day.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

It's All Been Done?

Get Milked

"You know what's wrong with everybody?  Too smart.  I know it sounds crazy.  I know.  But it's true.  Everybody's too smart.  It's like everybody knows everything and everybody argued everything and everything got hashed out and settled the day before I was born.  It's not fair.  They know about gravity so nobody talks about gravity.  It's a dead issue.  Look at me.  My feet are stuck to the fuckin' floor.  Fantastic.  But no.  That's gravity.  Forget it.  It's been done, it's been said, it's been thought, so fuck it.  It's not fair.  I've been shut outta everything that mighta been good by a smartness around that won't let me think one new thing."
From the play Savage in Limbo by John Patrick Shanley

Originality.  I sometimes wonder if it even exists anymore.  I get an idea for a story or a play and then I realize it's already been written.  But the fact is, it hasn't been written by me.

Yeah, I get frustrated.  All the time.  I feel like I'm constantly trying to reinvent myself or figure out what my "style" is.  Who am I as an artist?  What are the types of stories and characters am I attracted to? There are trends in storytelling.  Have you noticed that?  Vampires, Memoirs, Robots with emotions...when one or two are successful, we suddenly find ourselves inundated with similar styles.  I don't want to jump on anybody else's train.  I want my own train.

I think the trick is to not worry whether or not the story I want to tell has been told.  The odds are, it has.  But the fact is we are human beings that share the same experiences and the same emotions.  It's those very things that can make our stories resonate with a large group of people.

So am I struggling?  Yes.  Do I want to write a play about it?  Yes.  Has it been done before?  Yes.  But it has never been done by me.  It is original to me.  So I shake off this ennui...and I begin...again.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Spontaneous Living

Alfred Gockel
Sunday morning I met a friend for coffee.  We hadn't seen each other in awhile, so it felt good to catch up.  We spent a couple of hours together, and then said goodbye to go about our day.  It was Sunday. I had some errands I needed to run, but I didn't really have any other plans, and I was feeling good and happy after spending time with my friend.

As I started to walk to my car, I noticed the couple sitting at the picnic table outside the coffeehouse.  The man and I made eye contact and he said, "Excuse me?"  I noticed the accent right away.  I thought they might be Italian.  He wanted directions to downtown Portland.  His English was sketchy, but certainly I could understand him.  They were not Italian; they were from Spain. They didn't have a car and I'm not that familiar with public transit since I do have a car.

So, in the matter of seconds, I sized them up.  I listened to my gut which told me they were good people; they weren't Bonnie & Clyde conspiring to hijack me and steal my life. Plus, I was feeling good.  Spontaneous.  And I was going in that direction anyway!  I asked them if they were comfortable with me giving them a ride.  They were thrilled.  Silver and Veronica.  I drove them downtown and as I was doing so, Silver asked if they could buy me lunch or a drink to thank me for my kindness.  I almost said no.  But why not?  So I said that would be lovely!

We walked around for a bit and then went to grab a bite to eat.   They were delightful company, and the language barrier appeared to get less and less as we talked and joked and got to know each other.  Veronica was shy about her English, as I was with my Spanish, but we both warmed up quickly and communicated with each other easily.

After lunch, I took them down to the Waterfront near Saturday Market and bid them goodbye. We gave each other big hugs as if we had been friends for longer than 2 hours. We are now Facebook friends and I invited them to contact me again. They, in turn invited me to visit them if and when I make it to Spain.

It would have been so easy to have walked by them.  To dismiss them when they asked for directions in broken English.  But what I did was I embraced the moment.  I listened to my instincts which told me I had nothing to fear (my instincts speak loudly when people are creepy and untrustworthy).  

And the take-away was that I met two wonderful people whom I was able to share a mini-adventure with.  I may never see Silver & Veronica again, but spending time with them on Sunday afternoon was a lesson in living in the moment, listening to my instincts and being spontaneous.  It's a practice we could all benefit from and I hope to live that way more frequently.

Silver, Me & Veronica