Have you ever watched the show the Next Great Artist? It was, all at once, the most horrible, eye-opening, car crash of a television show.
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This may be the last time,
This may be the last time,
This may be the last time. It may be the last time, I don’t know…
Ohhhhh, I remember when I was a little girl in church in the middle pew. Smack dab in the middle. Hair in pig tails. “All rise.” Fellowship time. Sister Washington bangin’ away on that old piano. Time to sing: This May Be The Last Time. My favorite. Our voices come together as one. Mostly off key but still one. The Lord hears our cry. Better when we raise our voices together. The Lord hears my prayers. Oh I know what people say about me. The Lord hears me and I hear him right back. I got the gift. Just like my mama and her mama before her. “Those Francois women…witches all of em…” Kids would tell the teacher I was giving them the evil eye in school. That’s all it took for the teacher to give me the strap. But the nasty stuff folks say don’t change nothin’: the dead talk and they talk to me. There’s nothin’ wrong with bein’ dead jus’ like there’s nothin’ wrong with bein’ alive. Both sides want to be heard. I’m just one of the ones that can hear ev’rybody. Even if what they sayin’ ain’t worth half a penny.
If you want something you’ve got to get it yourself. Just take it. You can’t sit around waiting on someone to give it to you. I keep telling Jenny: “Stop waiting on Bob. He’s a selfish asshole. A loser.” I keep telling her he’s not worth her time, but she won’t listen. Not my problem. I’ve got my own problems to deal with. Plus I’m busy. Work. Gym. More work. Repeat. Work. Gym. More work. Repeat. Then I’m always having to clean up someone else’s mess. I learned how to take care of myself early. That’s the problem with most people they don’t take responsibility. They make stupid mistakes and want other people to clean it up. You’ve got to take control of the situation or you’ll drown. I tell Jenny all of the time: “Bob will drag you down. He’s dead weight.” But she won’t let go. She just won’t let go.
“I like long walks on the beach, horseback riding, and deep conversation…” No. Scratch that. “Stimulating conversation.” Crap. I hate writing these stupid things. You can’t sound too smart you’ll scare someone off. You can sound like an idiot and you might get a date. Then they are disappointed when they find out you are smart. If you are physically attractive and smart, well…then their head might just explode. Ok. Let’s try this: “Multi-faceted individual. Looking for someone to grow with…” That sounds like a resume. Ok. “Must love nature. Must love hiking or at least walking. I love seeing the emerald green of my surroundings and feeling a cool breeze on my skin after working up a good sweat…” Hmmm. No. Too cheesy. Well…wait. I don’t want to sound all ‘hippy dippy’ but that’s kind of who I am. Right? I’ll leave it. Oh, who am I kidding? “I love horseback riding and long walks on the beach. Looking for someone to be my ‘plus one’…”
“You are like my soul, a butterfly of a dream…It sounds as though you were lamenting, a butterfly cooing like a dove. Her eyes were the color of faraway love. Sus labius se cortaron en la luz del coral…”
We read Pablo together everyday. On the beach, in the sun, in the shade. He read it to me in Spanish (Spanish is so romantic!). I would get something like little butterflies fluttering or giant fish flip flopping in my stomach whenever he talked. Off in the distance I could see Mrs. Talbot with her 3 crazy kids. They only really listened to me. Mrs. Talbot said I was the best babysitter they’d ever had. No more babysitting for me! And now there is only Pablo and Emmet. I asked My mom if she’d ever heard of Pablo Neruda. She said no. I told her how romantic it was. She didn’t think I saw, but I saw her roll her eyes. It’s not my fault she’s all dried up inside. Emmet says it’s not our parent’s fault they can’t remember love. That we have to help them to remember what it is like to be young. I decided I agree with Emmet: getting old is kind of like a disease and we have to help the people that are sick. I told my mom one of my favorite lines from Pablo: “Love is so short, forgetting is so long.” She just looked at me. I don’t think she gets it.
The most important component of my most recent show Storyteller was the stories that accompanied each piece. Some are long, some are short. Some are more like poems others monologues. Each, though, says a little about the person that I imagine would wear each piece.