Wednesday, October 20, 2010
I got the feeling.
The gloomy sky suggested rain but wouldn't produce it, and I awaited anxiously for the down pour. Yesterday, the sky was like a gossip monger who in the heat of a story has a moment of moral trepidation and refuses to continue his/her story once your interest is peaked, or like an incompetent sneeze that is felt with the senses, but can’t be expelled, a bloody tease. I continued to look out my big office windows that overlook downtown Los Angeles, mentally chanting “rain, rain, rain.” There’s been lots of talk of substantial rain, but all I’ve seen is drizzle, which is rather unsatisfying to a romantic such as myself. When I was in junior high, the first drop of rain would prompt from me an uncivilized rain dance, done in hopes of bringing on a torrent of rain. My best friends would often participate in my ritual dance, but I don’t believe they felt it like I did. When it really started to come down, I was convinced that my dance had something to do with it. Yesterday, when the sky refused to pour rain, despite my chants and prayers, I felt slightly slighted. Pete was at home and he was instant messaging me that it was pouring in Long Beach. My girlfriend, Desiree, in Orange, later told me that it was coming down pretty hard in her hood. It seemed it was raining everywhere in Southern California, except for outside my windows.
I came home from work a little earlier than usual. Pete had turned on the heater for me. I wasn’t home but 20 minutes, when the rain started to come down steadily. Let’s go for a walk, I declared. These are some pictures of a romantic in the rain.
After a truly enjoyable walk around the neighborhood, Pete and I watched James Brown’s 1968 concert in Boston, given the day after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. James Brown was not afraid to really feel the beat. He performed for an hour in a half, and never stopped moving. Every part of his body was dancing at some point during the performance; sometimes the parts all danced together, and sometimes the parts danced alone, like when his right leg slid and zig zagged across the floor, while the left leg remained raised and frozen. His dancing and singing are not the result of training; it’s all feeling. There are no performers like him anymore. James Brown is dead. But we’re still alive, and if you’ve got the feeling, I hope you’ll show it.
James Brown: Do you have the feeling over there? (Asked several times to different sections of his audience)
JB: Then stand up and be counted
“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. ... -Martha Graham