Met some really fascinating people over the last few days. First, a stranger e-mailed me and asked if I would be interested in telling a story. Out loud. On stage. To a large audience. The idea made my hair stand on end and my palms sweat, which was reason enough to agree... but first there was the sit-down meeting with the producers of Back Fence PDX.
Great ladies, and this was the thing- in a lot of ways, the worlds we live in couldn't be more different, but both listened with huge empathy and curiosity. They asked questions, they were passionate about the whole world. They were perfectly comfortable, while we talked, to immerse themselves in the world the way that I see it. Amazing, both of them. Too many, almost all people aren't just listening, they are constantly comparing to what they want or expect to hear. Then they judge what they learned, but the pain and the fear, I think, comes from the damage when their filters aren't working. So, two things about Melissa and Frayn, 1) the world could definitely use more of your gift and 2) This kind of curiosity cannot help but lead to vast intelligence. Hmmm... can I teach sincere curiosity? That would solve a lot of problems.
Also met a man, an old fighter. The kind that gets people asking him to join their "Master's Councils" but also the kind that the self-appointed 10th degree hanshis and sokes wouldn't consider fucking with. Some of the stories were by any objective measure horrific, but we were laughing so hard it was disturbing other diners. This man lived "Lord of the Flies: The Musical Comedy."
He's a mass of old injuries, unapologetically rude when he wants to be, flirts outrageously with women who could be his granddaughters (all the while confident that between his age and the damages, he'll never be called on it). We talked about... stuff. It's comforting to talk about stuff instead of around stuff.
Then he told me, "It's really good. All the times I was trying to get myself killed, I never knew that life could be like this. Just good. It's worth it." That's the end game. It can be done, to age well.
Thanks, GJ. It was an honor.