Thursday, April 11, 2013

Over the Rainbow

  This is the hardest part for me lately it seems.  Yeah, this part.  The beginning of it.  In fact I've had the idea for this post bouncing around since last November.

  Best just to get to it I guess.

  For the longest time I'd spoil myself on Saturdays listening to NPR.  It started years and years ago when I first started listening to A Prairie Home Companion on Saturday nights.  Wow, a real live radio show.  How cool.  I gave that up though.  Fell out of the habit.  Then in the car one afternoon I stumbled across This American Life with Ira Glass.  What an experience that show is.  I find they tell stories in such profoundly moving ways.  In fact I remember telling someone once that I'd like to write the way that show makes me feel.  And there's always Car Talk of course.  I guess people either love that show or hate it.  I find it highly amusing.  There's a fairly new show on called Snap Judgement too.  It's tag is "Story telling with a beat."  There are loads more that have filled the void through the years.  Quiz shows, story shows, news shows.  They were all entertaining in their way.  They all get my brain going.

  It was when I was listening to a show late one Saturday afternoon called Studio 360 that things changed a bit for me.  The show was all about The Wizard of Oz.  I was going to tell you all about the show.  How Salmon Rushdie saw it numerous times when he was younger.  All sorts of stuff.  Instead I'll give you the link here so you can listen for yourself if you'd like.  I will hit a highlight or two though.  You know, things in keeping with what we usually talk about here.   I guess you could call that a spoiler alert of sorts if you do plan on listening to the story on Studio 360.

  So, I gotta ask, what message do you remember when you think of The Wizard of Oz?  There's no place like home maybe?  That'd be my top guess.  I can hear Dorothy saying that phrase as clearly as if she were standing next to me.  Maybe you think of Over the Rainbow.  You know, where blue birds fly.  Dorothy pines for escape.  There's always the Tin Man, Scarecrow, and Lion wanting to feel better about themselves.  I have a friend I used to work with that always whistled, or hummed maybe, If I Only had a Brain. That was usually as we were trying to figure something out.  I continue that tradition.

  Salmon Rushdie read from his book about The Wizard of Oz on Radio 360. He opines in that book about home, Our birthplace.  How it isn't a destination to get back to, it's a launch pad.

  Singing Over the Rainbow Dorothy yearns to get away.  To start an adventure.  To see something besides Kansas.  To leave home.  Boy, does she ever.  And, yes, she goes home again.  Did you know though that she leaves again?  Yup.  She  packs up Auntie Em and Uncle Henry and goes back to Oz.

  Now, why on earth would she do that?

  Well, besides the fact that the farm in Kansas was facing foreclosure, I think good ol' Dorothy might've learned a thing or two.

  I think Dorothy learned to live life as an adventure.  She came to know that just because something is safe and familiar that doesn't mean that it's the best  thing since sliced bread.  She realized that life can be exciting.  She didn't have to settle for the farm.  Yearning for something better is  ok.

  Well, I suppose you know where all of this is going.  All this talk of launch pads, and adventure, and yearning must be going somewhere, right?

  Oh, you know me by now.

  It's ok to dream.  It's ok to want something more than what you have.  It's what we humans do.

  You hold the key though dear reader.  You must set things in motion.  You have to do the work.  You have to find that thing that's missing and work toward it.  It's all up to you.

  No one is going to do it for you.

  Keep your sticks on the ice


Friday, March 1, 2013

The Space Between

  Ok, ok! 


  I use a dating site.

  There.  Happy?

  I've been on and off of one site in particular a bunch of times.  I've had conversations with a few people.  Even went on a first date with a couple of women.  The very first one, well, didn't come as advertised.  Just sayin'.  The second was dinner and done.

 Those of you well versed in the ins and outs of these sites, fear not; I won't go on too long about it.  The married people should know a little of what they're missing though.  Shouldn't they?

  It's a funny place, this dating ether.  

  Say you see a picture of someone you might be interested in.  You have gathered as much information as their witty, (or artsy, or serious) profile allows you to.  You decide to take a chance and send a message.  Something has caught your eye.  Something they said or some movie they mentioned.  A favorite band maybe.  Something to get you going and mention in an introductory note to show you've paid some attention to what they bothered to write.

  Sometimes you get the cold shoulder.  Maybe you get the, "good luck in your search" response.  Other times you get an actual, honest to goodness, response.  One that may even prompt you to write back.

  I mostly find it a wasteland.     

  Good thing I'm in no real hurry.


  Although there is one person.  One person with whom I've had a couple of really great conversations.

  See, she got me to thinkin'.  My favorite pastime.  In fact I posted on Face Book the other day that sometimes I think I think too much.  

  Getting to know each, other she asked me why I like being involved in theater.  Why I liked it and how it made me feel.  

  Geez.  Hadn't really thought that hard about it.  It's just something I do.  I like to show the audience a possible new perspective on life.  That's the line I usually use.  This was a chance though to turn it over in my hands a couple of times and look at it.  

  No one had ever asked how it made me feel before.

  I guess the shortest distance between a and b would be that it makes me feel alive.

  The longer distance?  This woman I am chatting with is a blogger too.  (SWEET!)  She offered me her blog address, you know, blogger to blogger.  I came across one post in particular that made me think even more deeply about the theater thing.  The post is called Possibility and starts like this,

  "I'm addicted to the moment immediately preceding a kiss, that place where time stands still, lips poised for the blessed contact.  I'm a sucker for the first kiss in movies, on TV, because it signals a shift in dynamic, a moment of pure truth and honesty of feeling."  

  Shhh.  Used that bit without permission.  Hopefully she'll forgive me this once.

  Think about that moment she speaks of though.  That moment in eternity between action and inaction.  That pause in the universe where absolutely anything is possible. There are limitless possibilities in the space between.

  It is in those moment that we are truly connected with everything.  Everything.  Everybody.  The universe.  Each other.

  Theater is full of those moments for me.  The easiest one to relate I suppose is standing in the wings waiting for my cue to go on.  I think probably every actor prepares differently as they wait.  Some do voice exercises in a quiet area to loosen up and pass the time.  Others bend feverishly over their scripts trying to finally get that one line.  That one section.  But then there's that few minutes.  The space between waiting to go on, and being on.  I stand there shaking my hands as though I could shed my nerves like drops of water.  But then I walk out, and it's all ok.  I manage not to trip on anything.  I seemingly remember my lines and where I'm supposed to be in a timely manner.  Then it's over.

  Oh, yes, I love to act.  I love to direct.  I love it all.  But it's those moments in between that let you know you're alive.  Let you know that anything is possible.     

  There are countless moments like that in a day though.  I mean, right?

  It could be anything.  Do I drive the same way to work today?  Why don't I try that new place for lunch?  I could go on I suppose, but I'm sure you get the drift.

  You have to be mindful though.  You gotta have to want to participate in your life.  In the Universe.  Life is pretty spectacular as it is, imagine if you lived it in the space between.  If you were mindful that any moment in your life could be magic.  

  "The space between... is where you'll find me hiding, waiting for you."  Dave Matthews Band

  Hey, don't forget, I'm pullin' for ya.



Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Clever Rabbit Ponders the Sweet Spot

Guest Blogger - Patrick Goodnow

The question is, how do you get to that spot?

I mean the true, sweet spot - when you feel like you are actually the person that you see inside of your head when you think of the very best of yourself? 

I have been there.
Occasionally and entirely accidentally I have stumbled across it.

Surprisingly, I get very close in a crisis.  Rational, empathetic, decisive and ready to offer support, comfort and love.  When no one's house is on fire, I am afraid I am as much of a self-absorbed jackass as the next guy on the street is likely to be.

I'd like to get back to that sweet spot more regularly, purposefully.  Plant a garden, let the roots grow deep and make it my home.  Stop letting self-doubt, apathy, fear, stinginess of thought and pettiness of mind keep me from that cool and lovely place.

I know.  Sounds like highfaluting pseudo-spiritual folderal, a liberal-leftie's mid-life crisis of conscious hot footing it to martyr-town.

You can stop wanting to choke me now.

But, back to the question... how do you get to that sweet spot?

Something that I am going to try is to be more purposefully available to the people who I care about without anything having to burst into flames.

Eric, the creator of Notes From the Night Shift is someone that I have known since High School but he has never heard these words from me:
  • I love your writing, Eric. It is funny and moving and makes a difference.
  • I have always thought of you as one of the kindest people I have ever known. It is something that I have always admired about you and tried hard to emulate.
  • You make me laugh in ways that no one else can - and I mean full on, tear squirting, belly laughter at that.
  • When I do get to see you brother, it always feels like I am coming home.

Not really all that hard to say and all are heartfelt words coming directly from that guy in my head, who I would love to be all of the time... living in the true, sweet spot.

Its a start.

Patrick Goodnow posts infrequently as Clever Rabbit

Monday, January 21, 2013

A Change is Gonna Come

  Yup. I definitely started this post a long time ago. Well, you know, relatively. Not time like cosmically speaking, but long enough.  This was originally going to be my Mayan Prophecy End of the World Extravaganza Post to End All Posts.  I started it and then Blogger didn't save half of it when I asked it to.  I've had that happen before.  I gotta tell ya, that was a bummer.  Instead of changing sites as often say I should, I kinda went on strike. 

  So here I am with the Mayans and a few other things crowding my brain.  Let's see what happens.  To be honest some of this was written somewhere around 12/22/12. 

  So, I gotta ask.  Were you worried at all?  Or did you start the day like any other?  

  I know you had to have at least given it a passing thought.  The fate of the world hung in the balance after all.  I mean it had been building for so long how could you not?  

  Yes, yes, you probably guessed already.  Of course I'm referring to the whole calendar deal.  Mayan by the way.  Not Gregorian, or Julian, or any other you might come up with.

  I know a lot of you can remember a time before.  Before cell phones say.  Before basic cable, email, GPS, globalization.  Maybe even before men landed on the moon.  Probably not a time when we started to lose contact with nature and the earth though.  Probably.

  The Mayans were smart people.  You gotta give them that.  They were extraordinary mathematicians.  They came up with the concept of zero independent of any other influence.  Pretty heady stuff for the math geeks.

  They were also astronomers.  Hence The Calendar, right?  A familiar question to some would be why.  Why would the Mayans be so interested in the night sky?  Were they indeed awaiting the return of some other worldly visitor a la Ancient Aliens? 


  Could be.  

  More likely it was the fact that they were more closely tied to the earth, the very universe, than few of us today could begin to imagine.  And of course there's always, you know, boredom.  What else did they have to do at night?  If you had no light pollution and time on your hands most nights, I bet even you dear reader would become a decent amateur astronomer. 

  That's great an' all for the Mayans, but I really wanted to talk about what it all meant to us.  I mean this particular end of the world was big.  And we had a lot of time to mull it over.  Some people had plans.  Just in case.  Some people had parties.  Just because.  There might've been more than a few people who were quietly relieved that it wasn't really judgement day or anything after all.  

  Did you hear many predictions about what would happen that day?  I'd heard every thing from the appearance of flying saucers to drastic pole shifts.  That was one camp anyway.  Doom sayers.  There was another camp however.  A lot of people believed that the Mayans simply meant to mark the date of a new Age.  A time to change.  A time where there will be more and better understanding between fellow human beings.  

  Truth to tell I don't think the Mayans were really trying to predict anything.  

  Things do need to change though.  Not a big huge all at once change.  A one day at a time change I guess.  And it starts with you.  And me.  There is no special date.  It could be today.  Or tomorrow.    

  We need to make ripples in our lives that will better others.  Better the world around us.  It won't happen through the government.  Aliens will not be landing to enlighten us any time soon.  It can't be because the Mayans circled a date on the calendar.  

  Every day should be circled.  Every day is judgement day.  Every day you have the chance to change someone's life.  Every day.  Moment to moment.

  Ok.  I guess I'm outta here.

  I'm pullin' for ya.

  The song is simply for MLK