On Marriage, John Singer Sargent, & Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward.

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The Future Hypothetical Full Catastrophe.

Update: this continues to be one post I won’t share, I just need and appreciate the opportunity to express all this, so it’s here, it may not be relevant or interesting.

The date: I got texts from a mutual friend telling me she was amazing and that I’d better be a gentleman. I met her, wow. We walked, I was nervous, we sat by the ocean and I relaxed, we drank wine at her place and looked at photos and books and we had one of the 10 best dinners of my life. I “met” her best friend, who reflects well on her, and now I’m at a convention doing video and schmoozing and working and…that night is a dream already.

I don’t know what’s going on, but lately I feel like crying once in awhile.

It’s a moment like a fish that swims near the surface—I’m not looking for it, but there it is!—surfacing, water rippling out of the corner of my eye.

Last night, doing laundry in my 106 year old basement, I came across a pile of posters from Boston, where I spent my 20s. The posters brought back memories of my old me. Posters of Tintin in Tibet. Shambhala Publications. I don’t know what all—I didn’t look.

But one poster, of El Jaleo, jumped out at me.

el jaleo "john singer sargent" boston dance dancing

And I remembered this painting, which has been so personal to me. It was if the Waylon of my 20s were another person, a brother but not me myself, some other life I led.

I’d entirely forgotten about John Singer Sargent.

My favorite painter, once.

I remember writing an entire essay in an Art History class at Boston University about this one:

Her gaze:

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And it made me think, ah, life isn’t short. It’s long. So long we forget 95.5 percent of it, and mistake it for something short.

And so when I feel like crying, in a good way, perhaps it’s because JSS reminds me of love, of life lived fully, just as my F. Scott Fitzgerald does. Perhaps it’s because I’ve gone on 20 dates since my last girlfriend, and all of them have been great, but…not right, really.

And now I’m about to finally meet someone, in LA, where I’ll be tomorrow night (I’m out there for Natural Products Expo, doing some video stuff, meetings)—someone I care about, and respect, and enjoy—from afar. We’ve never met. And so her fictional presence elicits all those ideas I’ve had about love, the full catastrophe.

And so as I breathe in, and breathe out these unusual feelings of joy, and pain. My true friends and I myself futilely remind myself that there’s nothing corny about jumping in, swimming beneath the surface and seeing that fish—before it jumps and ripples the waters. Translation: don’t play games. Be clear. Bring it. Be present.


For too often, generally, we live a full good life but we’re busy, fast, busy, fast, busy…and while life is full and rich and meaningful, raw and sharp…it’s not soft and gentle and relaxed, slow, sad, heartbroken. And so I’ll these feelings of vulnerability.

And now tonight before I leave my home and hometown and dog for LA, for nearly seven days of busy-ness and excitement—I feel like crying. I want her to know something I may well be unable to communicate: that I’m for real, I’m pretty sure, and that I wonder if she is, too. That I’m looking, perhaps, for something more and less than what she and I are used to. That, perhaps, I’m ready to create a life and partnership and friendship.

That I want to grow up, and continue to create my life, and a family, and I want a partner as I do so, at some point. That my parents may not have shown me how marriage ought to work, but they outlined how marriage ought not to work—and as with art, a relief or silhouette is nearly as illuminating as a positive depiction.

As the mentors-from-afar-when-it-comes-to-my-idea-of-fun-and-successful-marriage, Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward say, act, in Long, Hot Summer:

I’m offering a lot, I’m offering me.

Go to 8:45:




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About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now elephantjournal.com & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. elephantjournal.com | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


6 Responses to “On Marriage, John Singer Sargent, & Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward.”

  1. Hi, Waylon. Beautiful blog. Thanks for letting us into your hopes and dreams.

    You can't imagine how startled and pleased I was to see Sargent's "Jaleo" above. This painting was beautifully reproduced on an entire wall of the Spanish restaurant I played at for six years, Don Quijote, in Milwaukee. It was so inspiring to me that I made it the center piece of the artwork for my flamenco guitar CD "Live at Don Quijote", which is a double live album recorded just around the corner from this painting. I even used a portion of the painting for the impression on the discs themselves.

    You can see all of this CD artwork clearly on display at my MySpace site http://bit.ly/72MTT8 . There are music samples at http://MySpace.com/PadreeHijo and the entire CD is downloadable from the link there to last.fm.

    After you look at this page, which makes it abundantly clear how much I love this Sargent painting, you will understand my pleasure at seeing it pop up here on your blog so unexpectedly.

    Bob Weisenberg

  2. Mahita Devi says:

    Thank you Bob for pointing out this lovely blog. Honest and heartfelt writing that lingers. I am a fan of this artist. Both the writing and the artwork are touching.

  3. Shaye says:

    pretty inspiring… made me want to have my own!

  4. […] 请哪位好心人帮我找一幅画,小图我有,大图找不到了,是一个女人在台前面提着裙子,手伸向前方,后面黑暗背景是一群人在演奏,墙上挂着几个小提琴,万分感谢啊 这网页有一张 http://www.elephantjournal.com/2010/03/marriage-john-singer-sargent/ […]

  5. I have recently started using the blogengine.net and I having some problems here? in your blog you stated that we need to enable write permissions on the App_Data folder…unfortunately I don’t understand how to enable it.

  6. […] “I’m offering a lot, I’m offering me.” ~ Joanne Woodward to Paul Newman in Long, Hot… […]

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