…words (not that they mean anything) from the wise…

Conversing with a dear friend. Talking about the convoluted ways in which some people love (or don’t). Friend says:

“Charlie, aren’t you the one with the cosmology that’s all about how words are just symbols of symbols and don’t have definite meaning? You’ve got the whole ‘everyone speaks a language completely unique to them’ and how we are all, always in the process of translating the emotions underneath into something we hope to make another person understand?”

Yes. Yes. I am. I do believe that.

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“Well, see, anyone can say ‘I love you.’ But it doesn’t really mean anything. Here’s what love means to me, and it’s not about when people say it, but when they live it. When they live it. When they are there with me, for me, who I am, not just when it’s easy, but when there’s no benefit in it, when loving me is not convenient, when honoring me costs something and I don’t have to ask. It’s just a fact. And Charlie, a person’s lucky if they’re loved like that maybe three or four times in a life.”

You’re right.

“Well, I’m right because you get what I’m saying behind these words. Other people would hear them and think I’m nuts or wrong or . . . whatever. But, here’s the thing, people like you and me, we somehow believed that EVERY love should be that kind of love, and when it isn’t, we feel like we’ve done something wrong, fallen short, somehow sinned. And here’s what I wish for you, because I can see you are killing yourself a little every day with this shit, is that you accept that some people are just fuck-heads. You don’t have to hate them, because I know that’s not your thing, but you also don’t have to think it’s your job to save it or fix it or somehow do something different – be something different – to make everyone love you. What I wish for you is that you forgive yourself for that thing at which you think you’ve failed, that Catholic thing that somehow got tattooed on your soul and you can’t get rid of – I want you to forgive yourself for not being able to make everyone love you that way, or love everyone that way yourself. Because the shit you’re carrying doesn’t even belong to you and it is crushing you and I’m afraid you’re never going to recover from the weight.”

[And, of course, I was crying.]

I have good friends. Who love me.

. . . to the lakehouse . . .soul-sitting . . .

I’m heading to my house-sitting gig. It occurs to me, it has much in common with all the other jobs I’ve done: writing, acting/directing, teaching. All of these involve occupying, understanding and caring for the spaces of others. As a writer or an actor/director, it is required that one go inside the heads, hearts, and souls of the characters one is creating and, too, to have some understanding of the bigger picture; what came before, how things work in the world one is taking part in creating. As a teacher (and director) one needs also to have some awareness of the way the minds of one’s students/actors operate and how their psyches process thought and emotion, how to best communicate the things one is trying to impart.

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I have, it seems, spent a life walking into the homes of other people and temporarily tending to them, trying to make certain that when I go, they are at least as well-cared for as they were when I arrived, and, when possible, improved.

Maybe what I’ve done all my life should be called “soul-sitting.” Maybe, it’s what we all do. We travel on this journey into and out of each other at varying levels to varied degrees for various periods, all of these being unpredictable and frighteningly random.

I’ve been, throughout my life, far too consumed with the “why” of it all. I attribute this to having begun studying acting technique when I was ten, when given Bolesavsky’s “Acting; The First Six Lessons.” Then, too, the writing. Acting and writing both required knowing the why of every word, every thought, to have an in depth – even, metaphysical – understanding of the intent and purpose and motivation behind every letter, every breath, every sound, and every silence.

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Last night, I found myself one more time having a conversation with a best friend along the lines of, “Why? How did this happen?” I’ve asked that of myself for so long about so much. Socrates would be proud of me, I have examined until I’ve nearly gone blind, or, completely senseless with the searching for meaning and intention and motivation and REASON in the “big picture.”

Where I’ve ended, now, here, going, is at this conclusion that there is no “why” – not really. There is no plan. The problem is – as always – in trying to FIT anything into a size small enough to be labeled. Reason would require that there be a beginning, middle and end – and finally, there are no such things. Time is another illusion of trying to shape things into manageable size, to give reality a shape we can conceive.

There’s the trouble; we can’t. It’s all too connected. It’s all too infinite. If we think it makes sense, if we think we “get it” – we are fooling ourselves.

I have, often, been just such a fool. I have thought I knew or understood situations or people. But, no. Not really. Any understanding is temporary, a brief stay in a place that will change and that can never really be home. All we are ever doing, even with ourselves, is soul-sitting. And what I hope for now is to leave without having done any damage, and, perhaps, even brought a little light and love to the place.

So, time to pack. I’m off again.

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…zeit bites…good (?) friday…

Some days, the universe comes at you with what seem like messages; personal, private communiques meant to tell you – just you – something important. It is as if you are being warned to listen, pay attention; “HEY YOU! THERE IS SOMETHING YOU’RE MISSING! SOMETHING YOU OUGHT TO BE DOING! SEEING! KNOWING! LOOK!”

Today feels like one of those days to me. First, I woke to the social media alerts that actor Richard Griffiths had died. I realize that for many (most) people he is Uncle Vernon in the “Harry Potter” films. Confession. Loved the first few books. But, the movies, while I enjoyed them enough, they didn’t – for me – have the impact of Rowling’s words.

Still, for me, in my life, Richard Griffiths played a huge role. I first saw him on Broadway in “THE HISTORY BOYS” and he was heartbreaking, brilliant, in one of those performances during which the actor’s spoken dialogue flows and has the emotional impact of music. He was lyrical, overwhelming. His breakdown and his ache affected me viscerally. I later saw him in “EQUUS” (alongside the naked Harry Potter, Daniel Radcliffe) which was an equally moving experience for me in very different ways. Mr. Girffiths, thank you for your work. Thank you from one of those people “out there in the dark” for whom your presence on this earth made a real difference.

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Then, having barely recovered from the news about Mr. Griffiths, I saw in my Facebook feed the announcement that Don Bachardy’s new website was going live.

Don Bachardy, artist, was the longtime companion/lover of the brilliant, iconic author, Christopher Isherwood. Both are – to me – Idols. Icons. Despite all their obvious differences, they found one another, their souls connected, and throughout difficulties and changes and endless growth and exploration of the world, both together and apart, they loved one another for decades.

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When I am at my saddest, I think of them. I am at my saddest right now, so when into my feed came information about the new site, and a portfolio of his paintings, I wondered if it was meant to be a sign on this day when I am lousy with memories and awash in sorrows I don’t quite understand, may never understand. But even if it’s not a sign that I am missing a point (and, I confess, I am – I believe – always missing a point) it is at least a sign that I ought to share the site and you should look at his work. And too, and perhaps even more important, when you believe love can never happen, will never happen, read about two great artists who overcame differences in age and belief and background to find a blessed union of Light.

And so, whatever else the universe throws at me today (and there is sure to be something, as it has been that kind of week, month, year, life) I will be contemplating the thoughts I’ve been given to think through my life by the work and lives of Richard Griffiths, Don Bachardy, and Christopher Isherwood. And all the people with whom I’ve shared part of them.

All this RED today…

All of this RED today – so many people I know changing their profile pic and so much LOVE and POSITIVE ENERGY flowing through the universe –

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I haven’t been this happy since I saw Christine Ebersole playing Little Edie in “GREY GARDENS.”

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6 times I saw her. That’s how gay I am. And, no doubt, why I will never have the opportunity to avail myself of the right to marry.

…and on a lighter in the loafers note…derek hough…

Unless there is a go-go cage (or pole), tighty-whities and the opportunity to cop a cheap grope while inserting paper currency into the waistband of the latter, I have little use for dancers. Their lifelong obsession with their bodies and getting into the front line in a milieu where opportunities to do so are severely limited often seems to cause atrophy in their development of their souls; all too often dancers seem to have spent so much energy on their physical flexibility and line that their emotional and intellectual growth freezes somewhere in early puberty. Pretty, but spending much time with them is a frustrating exercise in trying to engage them in conversation of wider perspective than their own self-centered perspective: the core they develop has to do with abdominal muscles and balancing on one foot, rather than the ability to see the world through someone else’s eyes.

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Which begs the question: why am I obsessed with Derek Hough? Perhaps because I will never meet him. Perhaps because, unlike his Dancing With The Stars co-hort, Mark Ballas, Derek seems more concerned with choreographing numbers that highlight his partners as opposed to creating opportunities to show himself off. Although, last night’s shirtless turn with Kellie Pickler did show him off quite nicely.

Maybe Derek is that dancer who has a longer view, who doesn’t live in a tiny, little obsessively ego-centric world in which really listening to and considering others is never more than a learned pose into which he morphs with the appropriate cue of “and a five-six-seven-eight.”

Maybe. But, I doubt it. So, best I never meet him. Best I leave him to Ryan Seacrest. But I couldn’t let last night’s DWTS performance go without this zeit-bite.