“The ELEPHANT MAN” Starring Philip Watt at San Francisco’s Brava Theater through May 17, 2015

This is truly one of the finest pieces of theatre we have seen in the Bay Area or anywhere, not to be missed!

dday media

The San Francisco production of “The Elephant Man” is a play by Bernard Pomerance based on the real life of Joseph Merrick, a 19th century British man who became a star of the traveling freak show circuit.The Brava theater production starring Philip Watt is a superbly cast play of local Bay area actors. As both ensemble and individuals, the play offers strong acting, wonderful period costumes,and the effective use of multi-media technologies to embellish the classic theme’s mis en scene exploration of human nobility.Set in London during the height of Social Darwinism,a pseudo-scientific movement that held that life of humans in society was a struggle for existence ruled by “survival of the fittest,” a phrase proposed by the British philosopher and scientist Herbert Spencer.The play raises weighty issues regarding the very meaning of human survival and ideals of so called fitness as conventions of social and economic class mobility and…

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Any World (That I’m Welcome To)

During these days of early January, I subject myself to Steely Dan. It’s not that I don’t like Steely Dan. I like them well enough. Its just that Todd loved them so much and I can’t ever hear them without being reminded of him. Sure he liked their easy, sophisticated grooves, admired their melodic expertise, but probably most of all he loved Donald Fagan’s clever, inscrutable lyrics.

This morning I played “Any World (That I’m Welcome To)” from 1975’s Katy Lied album. This is not a song I thought of in terms of Todd’s death but he probably did. Fagan’s verse begins,

If I had my way,
I would move to another lifetime.
I’d quit my job,
Ride the train through the misty nighttime.

I’ll be ready when my feet touch ground
Wherever I come down
And if the folks will have me
Then they’ll have me.

They’ve got him now, though I’m not sure they are “folks” in the traditional sense. Still, there is some re-arrangement of dots, of atoms, that have mixed with those “folks” now.

Here in “the one where he came from,” we have a few images, a thousand character voices still playing, here where his feet touched ground, and where he was always welcome.

dot faces 2

What Dreams May Come

robin and dog what dreams

To those who’ve survived the suicide of a loved one, each new suicide brings ripples of our own personal loss. The famous ones, the beloved actors, musicians, comic geniuses seem to float face down in gigantic resonant pools – – reminding us of the ones we knew who left too soon.

No use beating around the bush: Todd Godwin was a huge Robin Williams fan.  

“What Dreams May Come” – the 1998 Vincent Ward film based on the 1978 Richard Matheson novel was certainly not one of Robin Williams funnier films, though it was one of Todd and my favorites. It will be a tough one to watch now, it deals intimately with suicide and it posits a kind of purgatory that might result from the act. In the horrifying place it shows, a suicide who has left our world cannot move on, can’t meet their loved ones, is doomed to forever wander an abandoned house, not even realizing they are dead.

But it was the segment of the film where Robin Williams’ character crosses over and has a glorious reunion with his deceased dog that Todd loved the most. And as two boys who grew up in a house of loss (our father passed away from cancer in 1963), Todd and I were both moved by the film’s notion that we might meet our deceased loved ones in an afterlife. Since Todd’s death in 2011 I’ve sometimes comforted myself with these ideas. I’ve seen him out there in the fields of flowers having pow-wows with my grandfathers and romping (free of foot pain) with his dog Tito, who died just before him.

Today, amidst my feelings of terrible loss and shock, I pictured Todd welcoming Robin to some kind of afterlife and having a great new pal to prank around with. They run with their dogs, they laugh at all of it, at all of us, at the great predicament of life, and as Robin’s characters frequently seemed to, they do so with tears of joy. 

Happy Birthday, Todd.

todd pic2 by verlander jpgToday would have been my brother’s 56th birthday. Two days ago was the 50th anniversary of my father’s death from cancer in 1963. The math is simple: Todd lost his father at the age of six, a more crucial bonding moment between a boy and his dad there is not. In many ways Todd’s entire life was a reaction to this trauma. Those of us who knew him know that he seriously rallied: he lived fully, worked and played very hard, and loved deeply. We also know that his life was scarred by this tragedy, that he was (in his own words) “waiting for the other shoe to fall” every day. But he didn’t give up. At least for those 54 years until he did. God knows he felt like it most of the time.

I’ve spent a lot of this blog recounting the ins and outs of his genius and his madness. I won’t spend today doing that. But I’d love to hear from the rest of you and invite you to use the comments section here or email me (paulrgodwin@me.com) anything you might like to share about your experience of the Toddwin and maybe what you miss from the world when he walked and talked. And let me know if it’s okay to post it too.

I read somewhere that we become those who were close to us who’ve died. I’ve spent the last two years with Todd very close to me, I became him in a way. The other day I realized just why that was: I missed him so badly that I wanted him to remain in my life. So I became the parts of him that I could and here he was, right next to me. Imagine how crowded the bed became at home and how uncomfortable it was to see double Godwin for those close to me. I’m done with all that.

Todd chose to leave here two years ago. Whether it was a rash decision that moment, that morning, that week, that month, that year, he had been contemplating it for a long time. I’ve realized that it’s okay. He wanted to leave, he was tired of fighting, he was exhausted from the pain, the medication, his sense of failure, what he perceived as an endless uphill battle that boys who hadn’t lost their dad did not have to fight. Of course there he was mistaken. We all have to fight to survive, to succeed, we all have setbacks and traumas and hurdles, in that he wasn’t so special. The main thing is that he did: he fought back and he survived and he succeeded and he made us laugh and he delighted us with his insanity and his gigantic heart. Happy Birthday my brother.

Points of View Game

points of view cardsWe were told to pick up any card off a table, the backs were all the same and said “Points of View.” I picked one and sat down between two people I didn’t know (that was the instruction) and looked at it. It pictured two men sitting on a stoop with their legs crossed. From the top up they wore tuxedos, their bottom halves had hiking shorts and long hairy legs (not particularly great looking legs either) and from the toe to nearly the knee, giant brightly-colored leather knee boots with metal spikes and stuff, Folsom Street Fair style. The caption on the card said, in all lower case, “should be.” The leader of the exercise told us to ignore the caption, hide it with our thumbs, study the card, decide why the photographer shot it how they did, close-up? Long shot? Or in this case, medium shot. We were asked to look at the words, to turn them into other words and while I am usually weak at anagrams, the letters seemed to rearrange and swim back into new words (like a commercial for dyslexia): “should be” became “bold shue.” “Magic,” I thought.

Still I was very unhappy with my card choice. I looked at those on either side of me and each of them had a much gentler, new age-y image and word. To my right was a golden glowing dandelion ghost and the word: “completeness”, to my left, a rich colorful photographic image, I couldn’t totallly make it out but the colors were beautiful and there were no hairy legs or spikey boots or anything nearly so realistic. Why did I get the only ugly card?

The leader told us that this card would bear significance for our lives, whether we liked it or didn’t, whether we chose to ignore it, give it away etc. – it would be with us for days. “Should be” I pondered. I couldn’t make tux or toes from the image, had no idea what it meant and how it applied to me. And then she changed the instruction. Walk to the person you feel most or least attracted to and face them. One of you is A and one is B. “B”{ person take four minutes and explain what this card means to you, what about it that you need to “let go” of. “A” person, just listen, no talking, just give them your attention, if they stop talking just keep giving them your attention until the time is up.

I felt neither attracted nor repelled to anyone and ended up choosing the host family’s high school age son, who then demurred and got his mom, the friend who’d invited me to this neighborhood evening of self-exploration. She looked at her card, a blurry impressionistic view of a screw on a wooden board, very colorful with the word “stuck” below it. She was somewhat upset by the word, had a litany of complaint regarding being stuck, the card made her feel down about herself, certain things she wasn’t moving in her life, etc. I listened intently, I studied her. I’d never looked at her so closely. Without my response she seemed to grow a bit insecure, looking for complicity, maybe confirmation of what she was feeling. I could give it a little but had been told not to, so I was consciously keeping it neutral.

We were then told to switch cards. I got the “stuck” card. That was okay, I wasn’t stuck, I was flowing, I didn’t have any attitude about it, I’d survive, plus I’d gotten rid of that damned “should be” card! We switched and then before I could do any talking, we were told to switch partners again. This time, as an “A” person I had to be chosen. I sat where I was and another person I knew came and chose me. Now I got to speak to her about the “stuck” card. Mostly I recounted what my first partner had said, all her complaints and insecurities about being stuck (she was also the hostess of the event and feeling a bit nervous about how it was going). Then I complained about my first card. Finally I reflected on “stuck.”

Switch time again. Choose the person you are least attracted to. I chose a clean cut looking man, 30-ish, handsome, regular on the far side of the room. We would spend the next half hour together sharing the secrets of our hearts, intuiting where each other’s power came from, what our strengths and challenges were. The leader assured us that the person we were “least attracted to, had an important lesson for us to learn.” After listening to me, the young man told me my strengths were “talent” (too vague) and “curiosity” (very intriguing to me.) Where did this land in your body, the leader inquired. Curiosity landed in my back body, where it fully resonated. I spoke about my writing and whether I have what it takes to keep going. The man intuited that my challenge is: “Is there enough of it?” That landed very well too. The fear that I do not have enough to say, that beneath the first few layers of stories and feelings there is, boredom, redundancy, a waste of space.

He told me his story. I intuited that his greatest strength was his belief in the good, his focus on it. He had drawn a card that had the word “forcefulness” on it. He had an outmoded concept of his use of force, stereotypical as in a man using force for negative, macho or abusive purposes. But he understood at the same time that he had a personal force and that his current philosophy of staying in the moment, “going with the flow,” might be lacking a bit of something, force maybe, personal intention, will. Yes, this seemed like a useful card for him.

After what seemed like an eternity, we switched again. Finally to someone we felt attracted to. I chose an easy physical path to the couch next to me and a woman that had originally sat next to me holding the colorful card I couldn’t read. We’d done one more switch and my card said “journey.” The leader asked us about our “passion.” Was their a passion in our lives we would give up everything for, home and family and comfort to see it accomplished, expressed? I reflected on my early days as a musician, how I’d been a minor rock star in Venezuela. How I’d felt so contented there, like Sugar Man (Rodriguez) when he gets to South Africa, like Anvil without their factory jobs. But I didn’t stay there, I came back home to NYC, returned to my girlfriend (now my wife of 22 years), stayed near my brother, worked in advertising music. I’d chosen comfort, familiarity, financial success, family, over my consuming passion – playing electronic art rock with Miguel Noya, and I’d spent nearly 35 years doing watered-down versions of that passion. The leader asked: “What do people know you for?” “What do they expect of you – your passion, how do they describe you?” And I knew it was music, no matter how much I wrote, it would always be music that people associated me with, that people thought was my most special gift.

I told the gal next to me about it. How I’d been playing covers for ten years, hiding behind Bob Dylan lyrics and Elton John. What if I had played originals? What would the reactions have been like? Even that evening at sunset I’d played two songs at the Kelly Ave. piano scene that Mauro Ffortissimmo had created. They’d been covers and the audience had liked them, but had they loved them? No. It did not feel like the reception that Mauro was receiving for his highly original contributions to art and music.

The rant hit home. The gal next to me had also been playing covers in her band for years and was afraid to make her own personal statement. She’d raised children, been a “good” mother, wife, friend, etc. Now it was her turn to live her own life and she had no idea of what to do, how to do it. We were destined to sit together. We had something to learn from each other. A card switch was engaged, one last time. And (freaky, this) the two cards we now held, were the two cards that had been on either side of me at the outset, the ones I’d coveted: the dandelion, completeness and the dart board: almost. Hmm, “almost,” a very evocative and curious word here.
The leader took over again. She was unleashing her ample psychic abilities on us now. She had spoken earlier of her “guides” and they were with her now, aiming at us. She gave us cute nicknames, she called me “soulful.” She asked us to define our Opportunity. Mine was expression, self- expression. She asked us to find an action we could take in the next 24 hours to move this opp forward. It had to resonate in our root chakra, not just our hearts, it had to mean action. She would check in with us, she was watching. I would need to write, of course.

Finally I asked around, did anyone get the hairy legs “should be” card and make any sense out of it? Yes, a man did and he explained, he hated it too, but found something in it eventually: you want to be perfect up top, presentable, clean, elegant, but underneath all that are hiking shorts, hairy legs and especially “bold shoes.” You’ve been hiding them, but they are all a part of you. Are you willing to show it all? I thought of “Silver Lining Playbook” and Jennifer Lawrence’s character’s admission, “Yes, I’m sloppy and messy, but I like those parts of me, I like all the parts of me. Can you say the same for yourself?”


quadropheniaHe was sloppy drunk and it wasn’t from drinking. He’d been poisoned by eating a cookie baked with cannabis. His eyes wouldn’t focus and in a short time what began as a floating, integrated, stony feeling, pleasurable overall, had turned into a spinning, nauseous, out of control, terrible condition. Soon enough, vomiting became the only reaction his body would tolerate and rather than stand up or potentially fall down the dozens of greasy cement stairs to the bathroom, he just leaned forward and vomited into the popcorn bucket that probably helped cause all the trouble in the first place. He had skipped lunch and dinner (leading to the empty-stomached poisoning by the small quantity of cannabis cookie) — there wasn’t that much volume to the production. Neither was the audio volume of the act overpowering to his seat mates, after all, The Who was performing their watershed album “Quadrophenia” at tremendous volumes, only a few hundred rows in front of them.

Max had assumed the experience would be nostalgic, vainglorious, emotionally-charged, a teenage flashback and it was (incomprehensibly) all these things (even though he was in the midst of a what felt like a medical emergency, one that he only wished to die in order to end.) Perhaps it was this death-wish, this desperate out-of-control feeling of dread-blurriness and physical discomfort, that best re-iterated the teen angst of “Quadrophenia.” In The Who’s double-album rock opera follow up to “Tommy,” (an album Max had discovered as one of his first fetishistic rock attachments, these identified by his physically carting the vinyl and cardboard around his neighborhood day after day, to either show them off, study the artwork and lyrics or play them when they came to another kid’s house and turntable,) “Quadrophenia” was an experience designed for a slightly older teen, fifteen was probably ideal.

Where “Tommy” could be easily grokked by rock-listening youths, its helpless deaf, dumb and blind child protagonist, or even by its caricatured adult supporting roles, “The Acid Queen,” “Cousin Kevin” (a sadist), “Uncle Ernie” (a pederast), and various doctors, parents, etc. It also held clean leitmotivs such as the Mirror (a secret for self-knowledge) and the Rock-Prophet (a ‘60s-era Jesus/Jim Jones type identifiable with Roger Daltry), Quadrophenia offered a murkier concoction. Five years before the 1979 film which would make plainer the more playable themes in the story (that is, adolescent boy from fractured home seeks acceptance in street gang of mod bikers, meets a girl, takes drugs, is enamored of an older mod role model, loses girl, crashes bike, crashes on drugs, etc.) were well communicated to a film-going audience of Who fans (and Sting fans too), we young fans were left to the unexplained gestalt, free for artistic interpretation, these were pure emotions and ones we were well familiar with:

Outsiderness, geekiness, lack of proper male role models, pimpliness, seering, crippling anger which attached to everyone and everything, the feeling of having an inner greatness which was both undiscovered, ever-present, bursting to be released, recognizable primarily by a beautiful teenage girl taking notice of us, and would inevitably become our salvation (as in Townsend’s personal story) or our downfall (as in Townsend’s alterego, Jimmy’s story), or somewhere in between (my ‘70s cohorts became, among other things, filmmakers, minor rock stars, paint-store managers, software geeks, carpenters, drifters, suicides.)

The Technicolor yawn that was Max’s personal accompaniment to this rock revival by a sixty-nine year old Daltrey (looking like nothing so much as a velvetine-gray Reno lounge singer from the Tom Jones cloth) and a sixty-eight year old Townsend, looking his age and accomplished maturity, like Richard Thompson more or less, was a visceral, fully physical reaction to all those emotions, unexplained, explored unsteadily by thirty years of psychotherapy, and finally expurgated into a popcorn bucket that is: Shamanic.

Had Max (or I) been prepped in a ritual fashion for medicine work, under the care of a shaman, ingesting some plant helper from the rain forest, ayahuasca, psilocybin, we could not have had a more complete purging and “de-gaussing” experience (as Dr. Bob Johnson would call it.) The vomiting was actually choreographed to the music, long hard final powerchords of songs that had particular significance to us, would elicit sustained strangled regurgitation into the bucket. It was not just physical sickness, it was a replaying, a reliving of the psychic sickness of adolescence. We were returned to that original stage of vomiting, the one we can remember from being children with a virus, mom holding our head over a round silver bowl, a wet washcloth (if we were lucky) or as in the beginning of Eminem’s autobiopic “8 Mile” (which I viewed last night with my middle schooler, an Eminem fan,) just plain turning inside out in a hideous housing project bathroom due to nerves, a kind of primarium vomitus – the only reaction to psychic teenage nausea.

Max relived this for the entire length of “Quadrophenia” and arrived somewhere on the other side, purged, empty and free of all that psychic garbage and nostalgia. As his eyes came back into focus, the show continued with the band’s other greatest hits, “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” “Pinball Wizard,” “Behind Blue Eyes,” “Who Are You?” and perhaps the greatest on-your-feet scream-out by this audience of advance middle age, “Baba O’Riley”. They audience yelled “teenage wasteland” from all the seats in the arena, and Max suddenly understood that it was frustration driven by the dream of something more, not the caved-in wartime pessimism gone self-flagellation that Roger Waters perpetrated (though Pink Floyd was the closest comparison that could be made . . .) It was the ire, the entrapment of a small creature, household vermin, that the 12-16 year old boy feels so much more acutely than others. It was not a cry out of rebellion — this burned from the inside and turned all it touched to ash.

Sir Elton in your living room.

I went to an Elton John concert tonight. It was not my first, but it was definitely my strangest. He was not in the same hall with me, not in the same city even. I was in my friend’s house and he was on the big screen TV, but he was also playing the Yamaha grand piano in their living room. While this phenomenon should surely have been possible for decades now, this type of concert had only been demonstrated during the last six months using their Disclavier keyboard and the Remote Live system.

So what? Fancy schmancy keyboard owners get to see their machine played by a pro, it’s just like a player piano, right? Maybe. I have to say that there was something a bit magical, somewhat spiritual and definitely just plain weird for me in this experience. The word “disintermediated” kept forming on my lips. I wasn’t even sure what it meant and had to look it up. The online Webster’s lists the #2 definition (the first having to do with bank interest) as “the elimination of an intermediary in a transaction between two parties.”

Hmmm, that seemed to have some significance for me. The transaction is obviously music. Typically, performed through the manual manipulation by one or more humans and absorbed through the vibrational receptors (ears, skin, body) of others. This transaction can be free, as in music from buskers in the park or a home concert, or through a financial transaction: paying for concert tickets, buying an LP, 8-track, cassette, CD or MP3. For rock stars like Elton this is typically a one to many experience. Elton records an album (like “Elton John” in 1970, the same year he also released the astounding “Tumbleweed Connection”) and millions of us buy it, a mediated transaction involving recording studios, record companies, retailers, broadcasters, etc.

But here’s the thing: I’ve spent the time since I was twelve learning to play Elton’s songs on piano and imitate his vocal stylings. And tonight I felt him literally tickling the ivories while I rested my fingers on the keys. I will be 52 this spring, so that means for forty years I have been playing in his finger-steps, singing his songs, introducing them to young audiences, reaping nostalgia out of old ones, hosting sing alongs of Rocket Man and Tiny Dancer (two of the only five songs he played tonight.) I’ve been interpreting them from a great distance. Tonight was the elimination of an intermediary in a transaction between two parties.

Tonight, I laid my hands on the keys while he played Tiny Dancer and something strange transpired. I felt like his hands were caressing mine, or that we were playing the keys together. I knew how to play the song, but he was varying it with his lifetime of styling and interpretation. I could learn how he interpreted it as if he were guiding my fingers through the song. It was a powerful disintermediated experience (albeit possible only for those with these expensive technologies in their living rooms.)

“And I think its gonna be a long long time” was his refrain and the years seemed to collapse between my first live concert of his in 1974 and the leaps that technology has taken, and the strange, strange world we are living in now where rock stars tickle the ivories in our parlors removing all the intervening stages that music has taken since the days when every good home had a piano and family members ran down to the general store to purchase the newest sheet music of the ragtime hits and new how to play them after dinner.

The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Scribbler

The pool man dumped a jug of something that looked like furniture polish into the water about a foot from the cement edge, all the way around. It foamed slightly and I decided not to take a swim after all. The fitness room (open 24 hours) was the only room in the hotel not chilled to a frosty crunch. I made it through a mere ten minutes on the elliptical trainer without watching TV but with drinking hazelnut half-decaf in a paper cup with a cardboard hand sleeve designed to impress Hilton’s commitment to sustainability on us. How adding more cardboard to your breakfast accomplished that I wasn’t sure but the message was everywhere. The elevators showed two boys in a flexible flyer one pulling the other in a black and white photo with the message, “Carpooling is good for everyone.” Norman Rockwell had it right I guess. The rooms, too, were decorated on the doors with these type of photographs, rotating every few to add individuality. Mine had a Deer Crossing highway sign, the deer was in mid-leap, no doubt about to be bounced off a Walmart semi just outside of Asheville.
The Jacuzzi was foaming with goodness, also chemically induced and I realized that the fresh hot water in my shower was a much better bet. If only these chemicals had the effect of peeling off my psoriasis then these pools would be amazing therapy for me. I gave up after pumping a few rounds of new fangled hand weights, the grip parts were blue plastic cylinders, very ergonomic and the ends of the weights where the actual amount of weight was shown, was marked in bold letters with HAMPTON. I’m sure the Sky Mall magazine had a service where I could replace that with GODWIN for personalized hand weights. Speaking of Godwin, I thought North Carolina would be the one place they would not pronounce my surname with an extra “o” as in “Good-win” as they do everywhere. There is a kind of universal dyslexia when the eye glances at an “o” followed by a “d” and it sees two “o’s” instead. But in NC, there is actually a town called Godwin, though I haven’t found it yet and no one seems to have heard of it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin,_North_Carolina
There are also towns called “Qualla” and “Cherokee.” Important, of course, for fans of Charles Frazier’s amazing book “Thirteen Moons,” as you know I am. It was probably the last major book that Todd read and on our last camping trip, he read parts of it aloud to Bodhi and Amee and I to our universal delight. It is the wonderful and tragic tale of the Cherokee removal from Western NC, and the rare efforts of one chief and his adopted white son to save their lands. As it turns out, they succeeded and there is a band of Eastern Cherokee who remain large landholders in the Western mountains of this state. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qualla_Boundary. I’d love to see this area and perhaps when my nephew Bob arrives after my workshop at Warren Wilson, we will take a drive out there, an hour west of Asheville (where Frazier is from.)

In the lobby, everyone, I mean everyone is in uniform. Like a kind of golfing Stepford Husbands, the uniform is khaki shorts and solid polo shirts. I’m in long board shorts with a Banff T-shirt and look somehow comical and out of place (at least I think so.) Though all are friendly enough and we enjoy the styrofoam (or is it cornstarch now?) bowls and cutlery with “fresh” fruit and microwaved American starchy treats. USA Today is free and shows me a height comparison for Obama and Romney; Romney is one inch taller. It also shows a bar graph of how many times the taller man has won the election. Eight times more often, four times the shorter man and only one time as often have the evenly heighted become president. (Does this mean we once had twin presidents? Was it the Roosevelts? The Adams? Or perhaps the twin Grover Clevelands, or the “hobo” James K. Polk impersonator? Have I misread this chart? But of course, if Romney can’t win on the issues alone or by spending more, his height wikk surely be a factor.
Last night as I boarded the nineteen minute shuttle from Charlotte to Asheville, there was an interesting man ahead of me in line. He was Obama’s height and wore a gold painted hardhat, a loose and less-than-pristine Rastafari T-shirt and, most notably, carried an electronic keyboard under one arm, his only carry-on and without a case. “Hmmm,” I thought, “you don’t see this on every flight.” In Asheville as the Hampton shuttle picked me up, the driver said, “Wow, you travel with your own accompaniment.” “Yes, I usually do.” I said, not realizing that she was referring to the minstrel who had set up on a lonely bench in the dark outside the terminal and begun a kind of solo concert. We were the only three left at the airport and he was playing a Casio-driven blues number, a kind of welcome home song to himself.
The airports here have rocking chairs for the lonesome travellers. Comforting and sweet, though not quite erasing the machinery of modernity and harsh perfect surfaces and packaged living all around. I head to the farmland at Warren Wilson College now to begin my writing program. Perhaps I will find real rocking chairs on real porches, or at least those who can evoke that comfort with their pens and laptops.

One Year in the Life (the 50th year)

Crazy and good year retrospective here. Many high times amidst the challenges and sadness. Music by Paul Godwin and The Sippy Cups.

Notes:A wonderful year from April 17, 2011 to April 17, 2012 filled with surprises and grounded energy. Highlights, Woodstock Todd memorial, birthday in Mexico, Sierra Valley with Dr.Bob, Bodhi’s elementary graduation, Zak & Monica wedding, writing retreats in Napa, Banff, Big Sur, holidays in Santa Fe, Joshua Tree and love love love.

Birthday Carol

Here then is a Todd Rundgren song that I wake up singing on most birthdays. You’ll hit play on the youtube link to hear the music. I’ve included some pics of some of my brothers in this world, its nice to have company and of course, all foundation from my family.

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“I was born this very morning, and my brother he was also born.

In our first nine months, we learned to speak and we

have been listening since early morn.

I loved no one but my brother who spent those months me

I hate no one and no other has so far hated me,

but it isn’t yet the afternoon and things are still to be

and when evening comes we all will see.

i am not very old and i won’t live long

i was born this very morning, singing this here song.

Oh my brother, where is our mother?

Is there no other? to live together? to be our other?”

from Todd Rundgren “Runt”