Saturday, March 01, 2008

Crying for a Vision

Ten years ago I went through a profound change. On March 3, 1998 my mother killed herself. She didn't leave a note. She did leave me some money. I immediately recognized a few things as a result. I resist saying learned, because I set off on an unsteady journey toward reaching my ill-defined goals. The things I became aware of were that life doesn't last forever, there is an edge that one can go over and that I should use that knowledge and the financial resources my mother left me to get out of the club business and back to my ambitions of being a storyteller.
Since then I've been pursuing the storyteller dream along a path that has been quite convoluted. I would like to have a metaphor at the ready, something along the lines of capillaries lacking an artery.
At the time, I had a business associate and friend who went by the name Mr. Gerard. Jerry questioned by abandonment of my impresario successes. He asked, "What if this is your calling? What if you're just a guy? A guy lucky enough to have accomplished this much. A guy that should be happy with what he has." When I replied I wasn't happy doing what we were doing and that I had to try the other thing, he pulled out the big guns. He told me I was a lost soul. He said it was okay, because he was, too. I remember the conversation very clearly. It was in the early morning, we were driving in the silver Mercedes that my mother had given me, but I had sold to him, down Avenue A near Tompkins Square Park on the way to my apartment. Jerry was drunk from the night before. I was sober and behind the wheel. It turned out to be one of our last conversations.
In a way, I think Jerry was right. I was a lost soul. But I was crying for a vision and he had stopped looking. Which isn't to say that wasn't the right thing for him. There are many who wisely just try to get through life with as much pleasure and as little pain as possible. I've never been the type to stick with that for long.
Of late, my inner longing for clarity has taken a new course. It's far more internal than ever. Yet it's becoming apparent to me that its outward manifestations are of the utmost concern. I don't need to reinvent myself so much as represent myself (long e on that re, I forego the hyphen to underscore the core kinship of re-present and represent).
I've been in a tug of war with my cynicism for a long time. It is time to let go. I haven't as yet because I've intuitively known that a vacuum would result. I must prepare to allow the void to be filled by something greater. I need not only to keep my eyes on the prize, I need to identify the prize I seek with greater clarity.
For the past year, I've wisely made the prize the work. I've detached my ego from results to a great degree. I've become process oriented, concentrating on the journey rather than the destination. As I continue to joyfully trudge this road, it's becoming apparent that there can be landmarks, points of interest and roadside attractions along the way. That part of the work of making films is showing films and interacting with the world in that pursuit.
That's all I can say right now. I'm not sure how public I'm going to make the details of my developing vision. In any case, I don't have much more clarity than this right now.
"Crying for a vision" is the literal translation of Hanblecheyapi, the Lakota term for vision quest. Though I'm well past puberty on the outside, my emotional life is quite immature. Maybe because I started doing drugs when I was nine. Could be a connection. In many Native American cultures if a child has not vision quested by puberty, the child is thought to be lazy. Very interesting. I've wrestled with the lazy label for a long time. Maybe unfocused or unrealized, but not lazy.
I don't know if I'm going to go draw a circle on the ground in the wilderness and stay there for three days. Maybe. I do know that my need for clarity of mind and purpose is growing.

Gridando per una visione,
Signore Direttore

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