March 11, 2010

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

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.

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:

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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