— From CB —
Two interviews yesterday. One by phone with a Denver weekly for our upcoming performances there; the other for our local daily in a series on odd people living hereabouts.
Over the years, despite remaining low under the radar, we’ve done hundreds of interviews. We’re very good at it, but I’d hate to interview us. For the interviewer it must be like trying to do your homework between two vehement ping-pong players: we talk a lot, volley, carom off one another. If it’s a broadcast, no problem; if they’re trying to take notes for an article, it’s hopeless.
The hard thing for me is the inner dynamic. There’s an obvious agenda: to bring people to our performance, to sell our book, or to stun the world with our existence. And I’m aware of the interviewer’s need for a unifying theme: What’s the story? What do we glean from this? Why bother with these people? For me (and for us, I think), the complication is that we’re still searching. How do I tell the truth without really knowing what it is? Why, for example, are we doing King Lear? I know what we’ve said in the past, what we’ve written in the program note, but is that true now? Was it ever? I’m never entirely satisfied with the answer. I was born a dentist, probing even my deepest beliefs to find the cavities.
Our memoir Co-Creation is written from the heart, seeking bald honesty. Yet I could probably write a vicious parody of it, just shifting the view a few feet to the side, and it’d be a best-seller. Every vessel of truth has its outrigger of blunt objectivity. Comedy’s a nasty paring knife that cuts deep at the slightest bobble.
You hope your interviewer can condense into 400 words what you’ve lived in 54 years, finding the spine among all the skins the snake has shed.
— From the Fool —
I remembered the fable the teacher told, how the turtle beat the rabbit in a race. The moral of the story I forget, but it was good, and we liked how the turtle just kept on. I do that, I guess.
But I had this dream, and this is the way my dream told it.
The turtle and the rabbit line up at the start, people telling the turtle just keep going. The rabbit strolls up, gives him a wink and pops a beer.
They both know the story. There was a movie of it, and all the turtlets and bunnies in the world are hip to the promise of miracle.
So the pistol goes bang, the race is on, and the turtle starts his trudge. The rabbit’s in no hurry. He straightens his tie, sniffs his armpits, checks voicemail.
So on through the swamp and stony thistle path, the pocky barren plain, war zones of steel boots and sticky fire, the turtle lugs his frantic hope. The rabbit’s lounging in his leather chair, sipping carrot-juice martinis, farting at will.
They interview the rabbit. “Aren’t you anxious?” “Not a bit. We’re outside that paradigm of Me vs. Them, that winner-take-all delusion. Enlightenment. Celerity. Be cool,” he says.
There looms the finish line. The turtle inches forward in spasms, three years before retirement. No sign of the lazy rabbit: he’s had four marriages, three fortunes blown, a bid for President, villas in the Alps, Bahamas, and Palm Springs. But now the comeuppance.
The turtle stops. The gates are shut to the finish line. Heavy wrought-iron fence with razor wire. A gated community called Reality. Rabbits frolic on the other side.
I liked the other story better.
— From EF —
I don’t know what to write here today. I will paste what I was going to post below, because it feels wrong to just trash it, but it feels equally wrong to make no mention of the hellish inferno just north of where we live, and how suddenly a bellowing monster can sweep away people, homes, memories, and still be hungry for more. Harbin and Middletown are only an hour’s drive north of us. As of this time, I think the Valley Fire is at zero containment. Alaska has been burning for months, ditto Siberia. What have we done?
* * * * *
Years ago, we decided to observe a secular Sabbath, usually Sunday. On that day, the only legitimate activities are ones that are either creative, pleasurable, or both. Precisely at the times when we are most harried and most need to use the time for work-list stuff, that’s when the Full Stop mode is a life-saver.
We slept later than usual, a delicious extravagance. Ritual banana in hand, I ordered our usual bone-dry cappuccino and decaf Americano at Hard Core Espresso, half-peeled the banana and sprinkled cinnamon on it, collected our caffeine, sat down at an outdoor table among Molly’s exuberant trees, flowers, and bushes, and had breakfast — I with my banana, Conrad with one of his amazing home-baked muffins.
Next stop, our weekly Farmers’ Market, cruising all the stands and emerging with two huge heads of butter lettuce, the kind whose leaves are dark purple at the edges. The market treats every geezer to a $2 coupon every week, so between us, our salad was free.
On to the sushi-man, then home to heat the sake and assemble the picnic basket. Twenty minutes later, parked at Portuguese Beach, we clambered over ochre bluffs and gullies out to the high mini-peninsula where we sit and refuse service to the seagulls. The fog bank was early, wrapping around to shore both north and south of us, but keeping a clear center crescent where we were.
There were pelicans. There were two people in a kayak sitting in the calm water close to the offshore rocks, fishing. The air was perfect, and the fog moved very slowly. The Universal Yellowjacket came to mooch, tromping along the edge of my piece of tuna, sawing off a little piece and flying away with it.
The fog arrived, kissed our faces, and turned our huge ocean into a delicate little bowl, fuzzy rocks floating in foamy milk that became a seamless wall of whipped cream, hiding the horizon. Perfect.
* * * * *
We live in a world where this blessed sensuality is available to us, side by side with a terrifying force of nature, made more devastating by our own actions.
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© Bishop & Fuller 2015