A quill pen soars over a cityscape, pages with writing and inkblots are caddywompus leading up to 8 caged blackbirds whose friends seem to have flown free. There’s Latin underneath: “Solam veritatem Nerum quid refert Quod nullus et omne quod non est verum”, which loosely translates to “What does Nero mean by the only truth, that none and all that is not true”, according to the quick online “Latin to English” translator (thanks, Google!).
What’s coming up is that much-revered concept of perfect truth, which has been a thing, or should I say Thing for me in both past and present, indeed, I have it tattooed on my throat chakra, guided by some mysterious force back in 1999, before I even knew what I was doing and what a throat chakra was. I just wanted something cool tattooed in the hollow between my collarbones, and a flower seemed too cutesy, but I knew it had to be something meaningful; I just didn’t know what.
I was drinking a tea tonic in the spring of 1999, a thing that had been popularized by such brands as Snapple, Fruitopia and SoBe - the latter had a line of tea tonics, and the first one I drank had the Japanese kanji for “Enlightenment” on the inside of the bottle cap. “Ooooh,” I thought, “this would be a great tattoo!” ...and promptly lost the bottle cap, but decided that was okay, because I could just buy another tonic, so I did, and this one came up “Spirit”, which I surmised was even better, and then I lost that one, too. The third one (why do things always happen in threes?) came up “Truth” and I knew THAT WAS THE ONE.
And then I lost that one as well, but on buying, losing and buying one more, all came up Truth, and that was the bottle cap I took to Gypsy Jill at American Beauty Tattoo up on Capitol Hill, a couple stores down from the Café Vita (which would eventually turn me into a playwright in another few years...LOTS of things happened in the ensuing few years in a one-block radius from that tattoo parlor. Hmmm...) and got my Tracheotomy Truth Tattoo (if I had a nickel for every time someone has asked me “Did that hurt?”...). It had just been an idea, at first, but the weird synchronicity and rule of threes made me feel like I was being swept away in something bigger, and indeed, it was like that tattoo revealed a veritable Pandora’s Boxful of personal truth in the following weeks, months, and years that made me feel like I was finally on the path I was meant to be on, and so many things fell into place for me over that following year it felt like magic.
Gradually, the magic ebbed, but I kept on my path, and it reared its head here and there, but I’ve felt it REALLY tugging at me for the past couple of years. I’m not sure I can pinpoint exactly WHEN I started to feel caught up in it again, because I keep looking back, I find more that could be The Point, but I wonder if maybe it had to do with the creation of our play (co-written with Jen Smith Anderson) A Series of Small Cataclysms, which began as an exercise because we wanted to work on something together and culminated in ushering in a global pandemic...and the aftermath.
It may have been the moment Eris crashed into my script. Kinda like the Angel crashed into Roy Cohn’s apartment in Kushner’s play, except my “angel” in this case was The Greek Goddess of Chaos herself, and all I could do was get out of the way and let her speak. Shortly thereafter, I ran into an acquaintance I hadn’t seen in awhile, and our quick conversation stolen in the moments just after I’d met with some collaborators at a café and she’d popped in just before a witchy class at the nearby Cunning Crow (RIP). The witchy class intrigued me, and we vowed to get together for drinks “soon” to discuss.
We did, a few days later. Jessica, a friend of a friend I’d hung out with a few times with previously and I became friends after that - her staunch rejection of her stern, Christian upbringing had led her to discover her own extrasensory connection to the world, mostly the Norse goddesses, and sitting right there at Gainsbourg in Greenwood, I told her about Eris and she told me “Yeah, there’s a long line of Greek goddesses waiting to get your ear.” Considering what I’d been writing about for the past decade, I couldn’t argue.
Over this next year, I visited Greece, and then the world began to change drastically, following the election of a vain, populist US president who seemed to really want to be a dictator or a king. The only thing I could do was keep making art as the world around me seemed to be falling apart. Jen and I continued working on what would become Cataclysmsand the world began to transform into something I could barely recognize.
The bottom fell out of my personal world with the death of my mother just as we were about to go into rehearsals for Cataclysms in January of 2020. Jen and I met in a café on Mercer Island so I could give her a report about how rehearsals were going. There was this weird flu out of China that was starting to take up rent on the evening news, but still didn’t really seem to affect us. Jen and I mused about our play, which seemed to be magical of its own accord, and she brought up some kind of weird planetary alignment involving the actual planetoid Eris, where apparently, we were going to see changes that hadn’t been seen since the reformation. We both laughed nervously - yeah, it would have to be something huge. We couldn’t imagine what.
About two months later, after a delayed opening weekend of Catalcysms, (which contained its own fictional pandemic and real world body count) we cancelled the final weekend as the world went into lockdown at the beginnings of the COVID-19 pandemic...that “weird flu out of China” had not only taken up rent on the evening news, but had effectively taken up rent EVERYWHERE, and people started dying and our world REALLY BEGAN TO CHANGE.
I don’t necessarily want to talk about the world’s huge changes over the past few years, other than my own, inner changes have seemed to mirror some of these giant, universal shifts. That magic that visited me when Eris crashed into my script in November of 2013 has led me to this place where I’ve been surfing a wave of something for awhile. And it’s involved a great deal of personal “letting go” and “letting be”.
I was unceremoniously laid off my little marketing job at Freehold in Nov 2020. Though I quickly attempted to “get back in the saddle” with applications in to a few administrative positions, I also quickly discovered, during interviews for these jobs that I was just...DONE. Sick and tired of towing the line for The Man. Sick and tired of busting my ass and giving a shit only to find myself expendable when it came down to it. I was supposed to give my left damn kidney for under $20 an hour, and they could do whatever they wanted. I was initially devastated at getting let go from Freehold, where so much of my artistic journey was nurtured during the initial, magical time of the Truth Tattoo, but after seeing what else was out there, I suddenly found myself Out of Fucks. Fuck busting my ass for $18 an hour. Fuck these people who wanted a pound of flesh so they could lay me off whenever the mood struck...and yes, FUCK FREEHOLD, TOO. Totally sacriligeous to my previous self, but congrats Freehold, you helped birth a monster who took this long to gestate and become whole.
OR A GODDESS.
I threw my fucks out the window after that. I guess it was as symbolic a death as any, so this phoenix could rise from her own ashes. My Mother’s Ashes. My cat, Vixen’s Ashes. The pandemic and my subsequent and swift dismissal from gainful employment ushered in a personal renaissance, and not only did I continue to act, via Zoom and livestream, but I unearthed several old and buried pieces previously deemed (mostly by others until I believed it myself) unsuitable for human consumption. Looking through most of them, I realized those critics had been WRONG. These pieces, while not perfect, definitely had more legs than I’d given them credit for. One by one, I began rereading, reconsidering, revising them. One by one, they began to come into the light, and one by one, they began to transform into viable pieces of magic and theatre.
This shift in the breeze was subtle at first, a light, cool breeze on a hot autumn day, but it picked up force and blew through most sectors of my artistic life. I’ve been on a professional role that started in 2021, and my momentum isn’t slowing.
The wind of Truth propelling me to so many wondrous and magical things that summer of 1999 has served me well, and continues to be the path I walk. Maybe I wasn’t ready for The Whole Thing back then; I must be ready now. I can feel the wind blowing, sweeping me up, gathering strength.
Going back to the Lenourmand Card in the Mirror Self deck, which was my writing prompt for today, I guess “Letter” has been a letter from Truth to me, reminding me I’m STILL on that same path, my trajectory continues, and I’m beyond excited to see what’s next!
Day to day thoughts, rants and mental detritus.