I survived Day 1 of the C.S. Revival Tour, but I am slow and low this morning. Have I caught a cold? I feel I have a cold. I can't have a cold, though, for I have more shows to do, more acts to perform.
Indeed, Day 1 was a success! The reviews are in, and they are outstanding--everything I could hope for.
We had lunch at a Mexican restaurant with a large, cold interior--white tile floors, white walls, cavernous room with plate glass windows across the front looking out over the parking lot. The food, however, was terrific, the servers and owner all from Mexico. I, no longer a factory pawn, ordered a Margarita. I was, however, the only one. . . and the group was really stiff. For a minute. Then I did what I was sent by God to do. . . I told tales.
Most people don't know how to tell a good story. Maybe it has been from a lack of reading or from reading the wrong things. People are, by and large, narratively pedestrian. I, however. . . had El Condor, the dead ex-friend Brando, as a tutor for a long time, and I now realize that I absorbed many of his colorful charms.
Meaning. . . bullshit. His stories had a lot of bullshit. But people didn't mind. They ate up the bullshit and then gave him their money. Bullshit is a good fertilizer. Bullshit helps a story grow. Nobody but judges want to hear the unadulterated truth. A story must be entertaining.
And so I entertained to the wide-eyed crowd. You would think I've been living life large. The most mundane things, like sitting alone at home watching a television show became a luscious epic. When telling a story, you see, it is a performance. Your whole body and being goes into it. Movement is involved, sometimes subtle, sometimes dramatic. You are like a magician drawing an audience's attention to the things you want them to see while distracting them from the other. They sit wide-eyed and anxious. Will he be able to do it this time? Will the rabbit really come out of the hat?
There are many chances of failure, many ways to blow it.
I told them the story of Red. She is like a feral animal you have taken into your home, I said. Broken glass, missing doorknobs, drunken rides through the late night darkness. I hardly had to make things up. It enhanced my roguish reputation, of course, which was the intent. And my timing was exquisite. I told it at the perfect moment. Boom!
It is a stage show that I practiced for an eternity at the factory. And yesterday was like the many days those people spent gathered in my office. And they sat again--for four hours--until I said I had to go. Many hugs and whispered love. And later, the texts. They missed me once more as I miss them.
Of course, there is the rush afterwards, the replaying of the stories in your head, critically thinking how you could have improved one part, how you might have missed an opportunity at another. And then comes the crash. Oh, my. . . the energy drain comes on.
Back home, I needed that Margarita you see at the top of the page. And another. But you know how cocktails go--one is too many and two is not enough, but three. . . .
Sky sent me a message as I sat on the deck with the two cats. It was a most beautiful afternoon. I told her of my Day 1 performance.
"Good for you. Enjoy the shine."
Hey. . . wait. . . what? I wasn't sure. I was crashing. She knows my bullshit. What?
I started to cry. I mean. . . on the inside.
C.C. texted. He just had one of his plays accepted for a performance at a major arts college. He wrote it, and he will be acting in it as well. Good God, I was happy for him. It's a big deal. My performance at the Mexican restaurant table paled. Maybe, I thought. . . am I only bullshitting myself?
Probably. More than likely. Most likely. Assuredly.
Among the audience at the Mexican restaurant is one of the best writers I personally know. He has published in The Bigs, but only rarely. He doesn't send his stuff out that much, and now he rarely writes at all. He is sad, sadder than I, which probably makes him the good writer he is. His writing is not rooted in bullshit but on acute observation and a wry ironic sense that is subtle but pervasive. The sadness, I fear, has deadened his sense of irony, though. He can't laugh his way through life's tragedies any longer. He and I were the last standing in the parking lot after the others were gone. The conversation took a realistic turn. Life its own self, as McMurtry used to call it. No, not McMurtry. Not at all. Jenkins. Different altogether. Still, when life its own self settles in, maybe watching television alone on the couch can no longer inspire your creativity. The goblins will get you sooner or later.
I thought about him as I sat on the deck, me alone at home, he alone at his. Maybe it is better to have the bullshit, I thought. Maybe it is bad to bullshit yourself, but when the bullshit is gone, what is left?
Staring out into the distance, I decided that I would eschew food for the night. I had no desire to cook and had nothing instant in the house. I poured a whiskey, told the cats goodnight (even though at eight o'clock it was not yet dark), and went in for the evening.
I have a busy day today. I get beautified at noon, then have another gig at four. It is not my gig, but an old boss who is retiring. It will not be my room--until it is. Maybe. This is not a gig I look forward to, but it is mandatory. I will not appear the same as I did on Day 1. Some of the people there had not seen me since retirement and had not seen my long blond hair. It was a hit. With the women, anyway.
"Oh. . . don't let her darken it. Don't let her chop it off."
She does whatever she wants, I told them. I have not control. But I'm sure Day 2 will be a shock.
My college roommate was there. He has a debilitating disease and is in decline. It is awful. He and I once rocked the world. He was a beautiful boy. We are all in decline at some point. Life its own self. The world is too much with us.
I made a movie to send to Sky. Why, I asked, make pictures that don't move?
"Look at you," she wrote. I think that cheered me.