Monday, November 25, 2013


The countdown begins from the first breath.
A life full of moments
Missed and taken
More missed than taken
Took to the lam from trying
In plain sight from the fear of success
Punch the clock
While the moments
To make a difference
To change the world
Convince ourselves that the job matters
More than the life missed
Breaths sucked in under the yoke of make believe money
It ain't nothing
It everything - to us
It's nothing to time
To sand
To space
To the vastness on the edge of which we
Keeping score
On an imaginary ledger of points in a game no-one wins
No escape
No egress
All stress
Make that difference
Be that change
For you
For the mirror
So the last breath you give
Holds as much promise as the first one
You took.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

To My Fellow Graduates . . .

I had the occasion recently to attend a high school graduation.  I was there to see a group of young people I had had the pleasure of working with these past five years age instantly before my eyes.  It is to these fine people and grads around the world that this is addressed.

My own matriculation occurred some 21 years ago.  It was a proud seminal moment in my life, a crowning achievement, and the culmination of 13 years of schooling.  The thing is, I don't remember much of it.  The sands of time have shifted over the years, obscuring the details, dulling the memories.  To be honest, I'm not even sure that the remembrances I do have weren't aided by the photographs scanned after the fact.  The memories of the momentousness of my big night have faded into a recollection among others of things past.

The reason I mention all of this - aside from being a massive prick - is to actually give you some hope, believe it or not.  Right now, and over the past few weeks, amid the elation and relief, have likely been some tears and even a few fears (that would make an awesome band name).  While it's true that a huge and defining part of your lives is coming to an end, the rest of it is just starting.

Oh.  So that part's also causing you to shit the proverbial bed?

Well, what if I told you that a part of the rest of your life is just starting?  Up to this point in your life, you've likely been led to believe that your life is divided into three parts --> before high school, during high school, and after high school.  Right now the after high school part is looking pretty big huh?  Well it is.  It's freaking huge.  There's just so much to do.  The truth is, however, that the best part of living life is figuring out how you want to live it.  The trick is, you can't figure out what you want to do with it unless you go out and do.

Go.  Do.  Some of my newly minted friends may find that familiar.

I've told every class and every student I've ever taught and every actor I've ever directed that I'd rather see them fail spectacularly than succeed mediocrely.  What I mean is that in life, as in scene-work, you need to launch yourself at your goal with 100% of your efforts.  Without complete commitment, you will never succeed completely.

Success through failure.

Failure in life is unavoidable.  Lack of commitment is entirely avoidable.  If you want to be an actor, failure is 90% of your career, but it is also present in every other profession and in life.  If you don't fail, you will never understand what it takes to succeed.

Be passionate.

Don't do anything halfway.  Give everything your all.  I don't care what you want to achieve in life, but allowing your passions to guide you is a great way to lead a happy life.  The old adage reads: "Do what you love and you'll never work a day in your life."  But it runs deeper than that.  Show yourself to be passionate in every aspect of your life and you'll never have to wonder "what if?"

Lastly, realize that in all of this you only have one life.  Don't let anyone take that away from you by making if less than it deserves to be.  Don't allow others to dictate the terms of your life.  Don't waste the finite preciousness of your existence.  Be good to others.  Be honorable.  Be moral.  You are the sum of your experiences.  The better the experiences, the better the sum.  Some days those experiences are unmatched - yes, para-sailing with the Dalai Lama in the AM and dinner and strip Yahtzee with Carrie Underwood in the PM was pretty amazing, but so too was that solitary latte when you fell in love with Hemingway, or that time you laughed for an hour over some inane joke with a friend.

You're too young to get this yet, but life hurtles past you at break-neck speed.  Don't waste any of it needlessly beating yourself up or not following your dreams.  Jump in with both feet and squeeze every last drop of awesome out of it.  Don't let anything get you down longer than you have to.  Love yourself.  Be in love.  Be proud of yourself.  Your families are proud of you.  I'm proud of you.

Do great things.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Inspire Me He Said . . .

Inspire me, he said.

Craning to the Heavens before faltering and crashing to Earth.
Picking himself up and dusting himself off, he looked skyward once more.

Inspire me, he said.

Reaching for the unreachable, he slipped, tripped, plummeted, fell on his knees.
One foot and then the next.
Breathe the breath.
Think the thought.
Dream the dream and try again. 
Fight for the light.
Need the need.
The passion of the doomed.
The spinning rock gives you one go.
So go.
One chance.
You can't stop time, can't stop the turning.
You can only ride the ride.

Inspire me, he said.

This time was different.
He didn't look up, didn't look down, didn't look out.
He looked within.
Lightening flashed, thunder clapped.
And kept on clapping.
The thousand points of light burning away.
The fire inside.
The need.

Inspire me, he said . . .

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Looking Back At Myself

I like my lines.  Those etchings in my visage. Those ephemeral furrows of a life lived.  Of laughs had.  Of laughs made.  I'm proud of those little reminders of years ticked off.  Of experiences had.  Of battles won.  The older I am, the more I've survived.  Battle scars of wind and time.

I don't feel old.  Don't think old.  I feel as young as I ever did.  Just grumpier.  Just more placid.  More satisfied.  More unsatisfied with waiting for life to happen.  Go and live it.  The secrets of life seem less secretive now.  What is important so much more tangible.  Friends get divorced now.  Friends die now.

Each new stage of life comes more quickly now.  Races up to you and is gone again.  Before you saw it.  Before you knew it.  How did we get here?  How long ago?  Familiar refrains now.  Black and white long gone.  Absolutes vaporized into reality.  Seeing the depth beneath the water.  Like a graph turned 3-D.

Seeing the world more simply.  Beyond the politicking.  Beyond the superficiality of man made desire.  The rational reality of fact.  Simplicity at a higher level.  A Universe immune to us.  A world that outlives us.  Every one of us.  Being born to die. The understanding of which lets us live more fully.

Gaze into that glass.  Revel in the evidence of time.  Immemorial.  In memoriam.  Age is a gift denied so many.  Too many.  Live your life vicariously through yourself.  Be a living monument to the passed.  To the past.  But most of all -- relax.

Thursday, January 19, 2012


The tease of inspiration,
Of art held at pen's edge,
Struggling to stay distant,
Begging to be intimate
With the paper.
The pen drifts across the sheet
Willfully aware of its limitations,
Fearful of muddying the waters of inspiration
With so dull an instrument
As its own hand.
Guiding but not grasping
The depth of its own desperate genius.
Letting it happen of its own accord
As all art must for those without the gift
Of conscious talent.
Drifting, dancing,
Reckless but free.
Flitting and teasing
Gently and awkwardly caressing
Like a hand in the dark reaching for a body
Waiting for the electricity
To strike
To heave up and explode
Like the birth of a


Tripping light across the water
Bubbles burbling, gurgling,
Living and dying on the surface -
Scratching at the air
Before retreating to the depths of their own ego.
Existence passing below them as they
Transition willfully
Futile in their hope to move beyond the water's scope
The world they'd know if they could only
Know consciousness.
But alas . . .
Impossible for something that fails to exist
Longer than it does not.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

This Temporary Life

Your life, and mine, and all lives in fact are, by their nature, anomalous. When you think about the sheer amount of circumstances needed to fall into place for you to exist . . . well let's just say that's it's a lot more likely that a particular human being won't exist than will.
Not a single one of your ancestors failed to breed.  Each one of them survived infancy and childhood.  Every one one of them lived to adulthood.  Don't get me started on the math required to demonstrate that you exist solely because each one of your ancestors mated with your specific other ancestor (out of a smorgasbord of other potential mates) at that exact moment back to the beginning of time.

You are the product of countless generations.  You are at the sword's point of evolution.  You are an anomaly.  We all are.

So when you consider the actual living miracle it is that you're here, don't forget that every other one of your planet-mates is in the same boat.  From your family members, to your neighbors sure, but also to those starving children in some far away land that you've seen pictures of but would rather click past than be troubled by.  It's not just you.  None of us likes to be sad, and thoughts like that make us sad.

We occupy our little place on Earth for a time so quick, it's practically over the moment we realize it is.  When you're a kid, a hundred years is a thousand lifetimes away, when you get a bit older you realize it's just one.  At a certain point, your vitality is behind you.  Your youth and energy are trapped in photographs yellowing in an album somewhere.

If you're of the fortunate ones, you get to see your skin sag and hair whiten, you're blessed with memories that may need a jump-start every once in a while but are long and rich.  My Dad has always said "Age is a gift denied to so many".  Ain't that the truth.  As much as we shake our heads and feel sympathy for our elderly brethren, they are the fortunate ones.

This life is temporary no matter how long we shuffle this mortal coil.  Just being here is a miracle left unfulfilled by literally trillions of other potential people - who knows how many geniuses we're never to hear of.  Every decision you make in your life should honor that evolutionary miracle that puts you behind a computer reading this.  Every choice you make for your own life should also take into consideration the fact that every other being on this Earth is as much of a miracle as you and should be treated as such.

Your whole life is spent in transit - from the moment you slip into the world to the moment you slip out.  It's easy in this make-believe world of ours to put so much importance on details that we forget the big picture.  We spend so much time living our lives that we forget to be alive.

In this temporary life of yours remember to live.  Stopping to smell the roses was a cliche to me until I moved into a house with rose bushes.