I returned from my hometown last month, where the high school and performing arts center organized a 10 year retrospective of my artwork. It was humbling and very touching to be thought of and held highly in their hearts. I gave a lecture series and told stories on the path of my life from my teenage years unto today at The McHale Performing Arts Center. In place of focusing on my art we talked about some of the ideas which have been most influential in my life. From traveling around the world alone for three years, to confronting fear, finding passion, and dealing with the loss of loved ones. It was a cathartic experience and Im happy to have been there as well as to be back here in SF.
One of the most touching parts for me personally was after I spoke, some students came onto the stage to speak with me more and after they had left there was a middle age woman standing there wearing a blue janitorial work shirt. She said “Do you remember me?” I smiled and hugged her, a smile that said my god how long its been and I can’t believe that the memory of her came flooding back so vividly and suddenly after having been gone more than a decade. She said, “I used to work in the lunch room, and you were the one student who spoke with me and joked with me, it made my day, and when you graduated you bought me a little present. I just wanted to come and tell you hello.” It really moved me to a feeling in-between happiness and teary eyes. Above all it made me feel the importance from both her perspective, and suddenly my own, and then of course the overarching perspective we all share, in the value of the sense of being appreciated as a human being.
Being there has inspired me and reinvigorated my enthusiasm for storytelling and sharing new ideas. While I was moved by this and I wanted to share it, I also thought of wanting to hear not just from the world around me but of the world around others.
Often times I have wildly romantic expectations of a place or idea and find within the private conversations of my head that Im reminding myself to tone down the expectation and allow something to be as it will be. This was that, that which was more than I could have expected or hoped for with the incredible addition of what it simply was. Which is to say the dreamy notion of the unexpected. The water was filled with plankton which were biolumencent, so that when I would swim at night my entire body would glow a neon green, I would wear goggles and open my eyes underwater which looked as if you were traveling through time and space, thousands of bead like plankton glowing brilliant green rushing towards the eyes. While in the sky above a meteor shower approached, and as I lay on my back in the glowing waters of the night, shooting stars reminded me just how profound a place this is, and how phenomenal to be alive, to know, to learn, and to find nature as it is.
I must tell you as I write this I am very romanced by the experiences as seen above and the potential that is. The photos have turned out better than I had ever hoped they would and in doing so, they offer me a fresh sense of potential in the world. As if I am learning something new and experiencing an idea, concept, and potential that I had previously been entirely unaware of. The unknown, unknown. I loved taking these photos and felt every bit the profundity of their mysterious depth in color and emotion. The feelings seem surreal even now as I attempt to describe them. It is only my passion for art, creativity , and communication with words and enthusiasm that prevents me from saying that it was indescribable. It only feels that way as it is so far from the realm of what I have come to accept as my reality, through my own patterns and habits. Through the lens unto which I see reality. These hold me in a state of spellbound emotion, one that speaks to all that we can never know and how beautiful that can be. The same way that a sunset is no longer a sunset when we consider just how small we are, as its brilliant colors show us our tiny place amidst a universe that we call our own. To think of time and distance and that we are seeing something so far that its light left 8 minutes before and as it sets, someone, perhaps in Japan, is seeing a different light rise as we see it set. These speak of that light and of something once lived that is both sweet and salty with yet another tone speaking of a place I'd once known, but only as familiar as a fading dream. One that seems to reawaken and as soon as it could be recognized, its tail swims off into that sweet salty distance into which I could never follow.
All of this stirs a romance in me which recalls Shakespeare's words, "Every third thought shall be my grave." It is not to be morbid, but rather motivating, to find the discomfort, examine the fear, for only now we are, Until soon.