I’ve been following his writing career for a good more than a decade. He’ll make me laugh — almost pee-in-the-pants laugh — and then suddenly, I have to catch my breath because he’s pondered a truth so poignant that it’s hard to breathe.
So when I find out he’s on a book tour (his fans are so numerous and devoted that he reads in music auditoriums, not bookstores) and that one stop will be in Bexhill on Sea, an hours’ train ride, I know I’m going.
But the tickets sell out. In two days. 1500 seats to see a guy read.
Doesn’t matter. I take time off from my work-study job at Bikram in the Lanes and DECLARE I will find someone with an extra ticket to sell. I will WILL it to happen.
Wear my cutest outfit. (the guy’s as gay as a Christmas in Las Vegas but I want to dress up.) Train problems, we are diverted to Lewes. Tight on time. Shit! Oh well, whatever happens, happens. Let’s make the best of it. Make friends with a new philosophy grad from University of Brighton named Padraig Forham. Then an Indian man in a tuxedo complete with bow tie (he’s going to a “ball”!), named Abdul comes to sit with us and is forced to be friends with us. We play Twenty Questions about what’s Abdul’s job (Solicitor). By the time the train comes, jam-packs us in and starts moving, we rope in a Brit architect who regales us his adventures in Norway where he works a lot. (“Their language is a lot of sounds. Thank God they speak English.”)
And I think about how damn nice the Brits are.
We all part ways with some phone exchanges (the lawyer has a crush on the philosopher, pretty sure) and as I get out of the station of this new town, Bexhill on Sea, I start asking whoever is in ear’s length where the De La Warr Pavillion is because I’m going to see David Sedaris and I don’t have a ticket.
“I have an extra ticket!,” pipes up the most fabulous person is the world because she has an extra ticket to David Sedaris.
My eyes pop open, I ask her name, she tells me Leah and I hug her and tell her I love her! We scurry over to the venue — THERE’S NO ONE SELLING A TICKET OUTSIDE! LEAH ROCKS! — and that’s when I see Him. He’s sitting at a table, signing a book and chatting with a fan. He’s famous for staying hours and hours signing books and chatting with people. But this is BEFORE the show! It’s nearly time however, so we buy drinks (when in Rome… and when in England), get to our seats and I send an email to my buddy, Lynn in San Francisco, that I got in.
He comes out wearing shorts and says, “I’m wearing shorts.” He chats with us, reads one amazing story after another, drinks a lot of water. I think it was four stories and then diary entries. He tells us little bits in between. He’s so genuine — he has an unusual, some might say odd or even eccentric way of looking at the world but his DNA is just genuine. And damn funny.
But who cares, right? Why am I writing this? Why might anyone care to read this blog post. I don’t know. But I haven’t written in a long time because life has been rough, rough, rough and — I don’t know — because I was downhearted, depressed, lonely, have gone through moments where I was actually feeling like life wasn’t worth living. I’ve had moments of true sadness alongside moments of joy when I could see that Brighton is a fantastic place to be! A very emotional time and I haven’t written any of it down. And maybe if even one of my 22 bog followers is still reading and thinking, Shit This is Boring — I DON’T CARE. And I have been caring way too much about what other people think and somehow watching a man tell a story about how how he fed his tumour (benign) to an elderly snapping turtle in a canal in South Carolina, made me not care very much about what others think. Because life is just so utterly delightful and beautiful even in the tiniest details.
In keeping with my this year’s mantra (see previous post), “Take Care of Your (effing) Self” I signed up for a hula hoop class. Or, a-hem, for those of us “in the know”, Hoop class.
You cannot imagine how much fun it is. Or what damn exercise. I do feel a six-pack a-coming! Well,let’s not exaggerate. Maybe one can.
And it is SO NOT just about swinging that colourful circle of plastic around your middle. Oh no, my friends. There are tricks galore. None of which I can truly yet do, still working on swinging that colourful circle of plastic around my middle. However, check out Edo from Cyprus:
I met Edo at a drop-in circus tricks practice (hoop, poi, swords, tight-rope!!). I was happy just keeping my colourful circle of plastic swinging somewhere around my middle and there’s this blue-haired hippie with matching blue sweatshirt so to start a conversation I said, “So do you change the color of you hair everytime you change your top?” He gave me a shy smile and could barely look me in the eye.
He’s from Cyrpus and moved to Brighton one week before.
“I was the only person on the island who hooped.”
How did he learn?
Brighton has a very established, “hooping community.” (OMIGOD I LOVE LIVING SOMEWHERE THAT HAS ANY FLIPPING KIND OF HOOPING COMMUNITY!!!!). So I asked him if that was why he moved to Brighton:
“Well,” the blue-haired 60s Cypriot throwback responded, “that’s one of the reasons.”
Then there’s Nick. He is one of the organisers of CircusSeen and he oversees these Friday evening open practices (what do YOU do on friday night???). Check him out in the video below! I have never even seen those little do-dads that he’s playing with!! They’re called something like Figure Eight Whatchamacallits. Ok so I don’t remember the name. But when you see them. you ain’t gonna forget them!
These colorful characters with their piercings and hanging pants and dreadlocks and tie-dyes were so kind and sweet and HAPPY.
And that’s what I needed… Hippies, Hoops and Happiness.
Instead of a long list of resolutions that are destined to fail (I’m gonna lose 10 pounds, eat healthier and stop stalking the cute guy on the bus), I focus on a slogan, a guiding principle — in short, a mantra. In years past, I had “Slow (the F) Down” or “Get It (G-ddamn) Done.” (The words in parentheses are just for my thoughts. There’s something fun yet firm about a well-placed expletive. I didn’t tell other people about those words. Until now, that is.)
Sometimes the mantra was silly: “Be Like a Duck and Let Things Slide Off Your Back.” (That was less successful — too long. I forgot most of it by March instead just remembering the “Be Like a Duck” part with not very pretty consequences.)
At least I finally learned to swim.
One year was a bit unseemly: “Get Rid of the Old (Crusty) Underwear.” Meaning, stop hanging on to shit you don’t need: crappy stuff goes in the garbage and crappy friends — show them the door! (Please recall: words in parens — here, “Crusty” — are for my thoughts only. I wouldn’t tell that to people. Well, like I said, until now.)
And the rule is: it needs to be an affirmative statement. It’s something you DO want to do. No negatives in the sentence — no “Don’t Be Mean” or “Quit Complaining.” Turn those into “Smile at Everyone” and “Appreciate the World.” The Lady in Pink makes this clear:
A better slogan (mantra) might be Keep It Healthy!
And the second rule is, I don’t think about the picking of The Mantra too much, I just sort of “discover” it. Let it come to me.
However, this year for Xmas/New Year’s, I was in my mom’s tiny home town in southern Italy — a place not known for keeping up with the times.
At 5pm after siesta, the men gather in the piazza to hang out, smoke play cards and talk about who’s died recently.
And so, I was overloaded on too many kissing-my-cheeks-twice relatives, bored by the constant hum of bad Italian television and screaming conversation (that’s just how they talk) and over-indulged in amazing food. It broke my brain. The mantra was not only undiscovered but completely forgotten.
Until…. I got a message from a friend I adore and haven’t seen in years. She wrote, “So what’s your Mantra for 2015? I LOVE that you do that!” I didn’t even know she knew about my quirky mantra thing. At the VERY moment that the message came, I’d been feeling bad about eating pasta for both lunch and dinner and it just came to me: “Take Care of Yourself” (I might need to adjust that to “Take Care of Yourself (Asshole).” )
Silliness aside, a mantra is more powerful rather than a list of resolutions that you HAVE TO do. Because those remind you of your failures, whereas, a Mantra reminds you of who you declare yourself to be. Who you are is who you SAY you are. Train your brain to be your best self.
Wonder Woman and the Golden Lasso of Truth! She’s cool, she cares and she obviously takes care of herself! What might her mantra be?
Ok so… pick a mantra, from the list below and/or write in comments and then TAKE IT (THE F) ON!!!!!