The last time I visited you, Colorado, Zanna and I were coming back from Burning Man, eighteen or so years ago. I busked your walking mall mid-day and a man on the street asking for money gave me a dollar and said I had a voice like an angel. I'd like to think that I remember the song I was singing that made him say that but I'm not altogether sure. His assertion seducing the content out of memory like an iPhone camera insuring you against the fallibility of your mind.
We had ‘nowhere to go‘. We drank warm PBR's from the hatch of my dessert dusted Pathfinder that pushed tin to Reno on a solar charged battery after some ecstasy lost 'expert' jumped my battery backwards against my solar plexus override. Reno gave me a new alternator. I saw the inside of a casino for the first time. That hamburger and milk shake after seven days of eating carrots and granola never tasted so good. The old ladies who lived at the slot machines making early tombstones of diminishing fortunes.
We saw a man roll a piano down Pearl Street and begin to play. If I had had any more beer, I probably would have talked him into playing 'Heart and Soul'. He was kind to let us crash on the floor of an empty spare room in the wake of his previous tenant.
The time before that, I was eighteen. My father and mother on one of their many generosity inspired desires for their children to really learn some life, had set me up at the Marpa House on the hill during a Beat Generation Reunion at Naropa University where I studied watercolor and figure drawing summer intensives in-between saturations of Allen Ginsberg, Gary Snyder, Phillip Glass, Meredith Monk and many others from that intrinsic set of empowered minds continually breaking free.
I was alone for the first time in my life in a place far away from home. I called my parents daily for a while. I sat in cafes unknowingly warding people off with my desperation to meet people. My dad gave me a good piece of advice, he said: "Just get into what you are doing. Do your work. Work hard at your art and pretty soon you will have enough going on for yourself to be interesting to someone else."
So I hit their glorious library, (passing a live rendition of 'Pull My Daisy' along the way) checked out all the figure drawing books I could find and began copying from them. Learning.
His advice worked so well that the nude model from class asked me to the movies. I declined and saw the dang thing on my own because, at the time, I couldn't figure out how you go to the movies with someone that you already saw naked. The movie was 'Wolf' with Jack Nicholson. It was the first movie that I ever saw on my own.
There was this man who came to my parents house after being on some trek in the Himalayas intent on having us present for his slide show. When people say things like 'just be yourself' I really wonder if it is really okay. I mean, if I were to 'just be myself' in that situation I would be saving myself a lot of time by saying "Look, watching your slide show is really the last thing that I want to be doing right now. I'm sure you had a wonderful time, but I am not interested in spending my time in this way."
But then again, I wouldn't have heard this bit of brilliance that I'll never forget. He was talking about this pure water that they drank right out of a spring. It was the purest water in all the land in the land of the landy land land and then he said 'we made kool-aid out of it'. And that's how I felt about my first movie watched alone being 'Wolf'.
Wasn't it Pema Chodron who had that great analogy about sitting at the Grand Canyon only to have a paper bag on your head? The Irish say shared joy is a double joy...I say, shared sorrow is half an analogy. I'm half Irish.