I Made It

And there it was, the beginning of the year. What happened in the last year that made the start of this one be so welcomed, so needed, so desperately thirsted after?

Honestly, I can’t really remember. The last year passed by in such a slow-motion blur, it felt like sleeping and waking up and then sleeping again. Mixed in with a little, okay A LOT, of Netflix. A seemingly endless rinse and repeat cycle of fog and stress, and food delivery that filled the hours. Days went by and I wasn’t even sure what day it was. Was it even daytime? What happened to the sun at 4:30pm? What’s for dinner?

The time went by and the news got worse. The new iPhone came out and I’m pretty sure I found the end of the internet. Spoiler Alert: The screen goes to black and suddenly you hear “Never Gonna Give You Up” by Rick Astley.

But at 10 seconds before the beginning of the New Year, I had this feeling. It didn’t matter what happened, or didn’t happen, in the last year. It didn’t matter that it felt like the longest decade all wrapped up in one year. What mattered is that I made it through it. I was 10 seconds away from the start. The start of New. I was still breathing. I could still laugh, even though there were times I thought I never would again. I made it. We made it.

And so here I am. Writing again, because I hadn’t in a long time. It feels good. It feels right. It feels, new.

Happy New Year!

A Walk To My Brother’s Bar

It’s not a long trip at all. Just a quick hop on to the free shuttle on the 16th Street Mall. Ride that all the way to its last stop, past the trendy hipster restaurants, coffee shops, Chipotle and the Tattered Cover Bookstore in historic LoDo. Fight the temptation to get off the shuttle and drop inside, grab a tea, and walk the aisles and aisles of stacked shelves and fall into a comfy familiar old chair while disappearing into words.

Stay on the bus and the shuttle doors will close again as it moves up the mall. In the short distance you’ll soon see a monument to a pastime on Wazee. Coors Field. You can stop to catch a game, if it were baseball season. Just keep riding the shuttle.

A few more blocks and you can get off at the last stop near Union Station. Looking familiar from a postcard, or a commercial. Or was it a movie? You can stop to take a picture of it, but you’ll probably forget about in a few days. The journey continues.

You take a walk up the stairs, passing bikers pulling or pushing their bikes into the neat little grooves on the side of the staircase for their wheels, and step on to the Millennium Bridge. A tall metal tube shooting up like a ships mast into the blue Mile High sky and suspension cables holding a boardwalk and fencing over the train tracks. You pass the Locks of Love on the fence and walk down the stairs at the end of the bridge. More bike grooves here too.

Now you have a choice. You can either take the scenic route and have a nice walk through the park, past the signs reminding folks of the native history of these lands, and the concrete arena that might remind you of that scene in The Warriors. ‘CAAAN YOOOU DIG IT!?!’

Or…

You can take a left at Little Raven, walk down to 15th, take a right and head up. Either way, you get to walk over the South Platte River. You get to see it’s clear waters flowing and moving quickly through the land. Here, there’s a pause. There has to be. The view is spectacular with the river, the land, the sky and the Rocky Mountains in the distance. A welcome reward for the journey. A breath.

A short distance later up to 15th and Platte, and there it is. The destination. The purpose for your quest.

My Brother’s Bar

Billed as “The oldest bar in Denver”, it’s an unassuming joint. There is no sign out front, so you’d have to know where you were going to get there. Yes, they have food. But that’s not why you are here. You’re here, because you know that Neal and Jack used to hang out here. They once walked through that wood door on the corner with the word ‘Platte’ over it. They walked in there, sat at that long wooden bar and scrapped their cash together to order a… Well, we don’t know what they ordered. But it was booze and that’s what you’re going to order. When you finally get your drink, you sit back a little on the stool, take a look around the bar, drink in the history and fantasy of it all and take a sip.

You were there. So was Jack.

Untitled

Chicano poet sits down to write

Pluma en mano

Empty page

Heart full of dolor y Amór

Dodgers game is about to start

Chicano poet will write mañana

Didn’t Want To, But I Did

I didn't want to write my Morning Pages today. 

I woke early and lay in bed, thinking and thinking about how I should get up and get started on my Morning Routine. Laying there, thinking of how it was the perfect opportunity to rise and shine before the sun and get started. 

But I just lay there. Thinking. 

I did so many other things when I did finally get up. I made breakfast, coffee, fed the kid, walked the dog, fed the dog, spot cleaned the kitchen, started to listen to a podcast, and more. I did so many other things, but I didn't sit down and do my Morning Pages. I didn't want to. I really didn't want to. 

But then I didn't have anything else to do after I did everything else. So I opened my journal, clicked my Pilot G-2 07 pen with the black ink, and slogged through my three pages. 

Then it was over. 

I did it. I did my Morning Pages. I showed up at the page and wrote. Even though I really didn't want to. Didn't feel like it. Was dreading the idea of even starting. I did it. I wrote and wrote and wrote all three pages of freeform writing. 

Maybe they were a benefit, maybe they weren't. But it isn't for me to judge or think about what they do, or don't do. Maybe it's nothing at all, or maybe it's something. That isn't the point. The point is to just show up at the page. Ignore them, delay them, be angry with or love them. Show up at the page. 

I did my Morning Pages today. 

I Watched Myself

The other day, I was scrolling through social media. That was my first mistake. My second, was I happened upon a video of a show I was in not too long ago. It was a great show. Unique and fun and widely received as an instant classic. But my mistake wasn’t being in the show. It was watching the video of my performance.

There I was, on a stage in a professional and well respected theatre, doing my thing. But what I saw was something I didn’t even think was possible.

I sucked so bad!

No joke. It was so, SO bad! My pacing was off, my walking was lumbered, my projection was lacking, my accent was horrid. A lemur on crack could’ve turned in a more convincing performance in the dark and underwater. I watched in shock and sadness as the video rolled on. Fortunately, the section I watched was only about a minute long. Any longer and I could’ve thrown my phone outside the window of my third-story apartment and then run downstairs to step on it and let my dog defecate on it.

It was that video, and the embarrassed and sad feelings after, that clearly put me in the company of those performers who are always saying they never watch their work.

But then it hit me.

If I had never seen it, and felt the way I did at that moment, would I have learned anything?

Sure, there was the feeling of wanting to quit this Show-Business thing and finally take that job as a railroad brakeman somewhere in the Southwest, smoke unfiltered cigarettes and drink White Dog to fall asleep and drown out the memories.

But then I got an idea. Learn from this.

You don’t know it all. You’re not as amazing as you think you are, but you’re not as bad as you think you are also. You are on a journey and not every step is going to be perfect. In fact, no step is going to be perfect. But you don’t leave the journey. You just keep going.

Since that day of watching that video, I’ve watched it again several times. Because I am in the mindset to improve. Maybe I wasn’t as bad as I think I was. Lots of folks said I did a great job, and I don’t think they were just being nice.

But I want to get better. To be the best Artist I can be. So I watch and learn.