Well, last night I had one of my favorite performing experiences ever. Really. Like it’s got to be in the top ten. I had the most amazing time. I still feel giddy and shocked and blinking, did that happen?
I have been a fan of Jill Sobule for years. I love her. My friend Wendy turned me on to her music when we were writing a pilot for me to star in about ten years ago for Fox Television. Anyway, if the TV show went, we wanted Jill to do the music, maybe the opening song or something. I think representatives were even called. But the pilot wasn’t picked up and so it never happened. Later, after a terrible romantic break up, I listened to the song, “Now That I Don’t Have You” about a zillion times in my car.
Anyway, I met her at TED, which was a thrill in and of itself – just getting to meet her. Then, Jill invited me to perform with her at Largo. Largo is a club that I’ve performed at many, many times. It’s a small, intimate little club, nearby, that mostly hosts comedy and music. Jill and I got together on Monday for an afternoon of listening to songs and of talking about the topics and stories the songs brought up for me. It was great – having Jill in my own living room playing songs on her guitar! Awesome. (My nanny came in while we were talking and Jill was playing her guitar and later she said, “Was that JILL SOBULE!?!”)
So, last night we did our gig. Jill played songs and I told stories in between some of her songs. I was worried at first – I had never seen her live before and she is such a force, so commanding, so vulnerable, so funny – I didn’t want to horn in on her thang she had going on stage. I suddenly felt so unprepared and I was sure it wasn’t going to be good chemistry. But it turned out to really work, I think. The audience was so into it. I had a blast. It was really fun to be onstage with a band. Jill was great – what a wonderful night. I am still high from it. Jill thought it went really well too – we are already planning more nights. I am so thrilled. I think we should write a musical together!
The music did something. It was different than just doing straight comedy. I didn’t have to make it always so funny – sometimes it could just be sad, and then, it would be funny anyway. I think our sensibilities are really similar. I feel so good – to have met her, to get to have had this wonderful experience. Jill is so amazing to see live that I was shocked I was even a fan before I ever saw her on stage. She has such a way – such a strength and quirkiness. She’s mesmerizing to me.
Today I am wiped out, just wiped out. I don’t have much to give, even to this blog. I worked out and have been wandering around in a daze since then. I got my receipts done for the first three months of the year, that was my big accomplishment. I started to think I was getting sick. Mulan has been sickish for a few days. We stayed in tonight and I read her a kid’s book about electricity. I realized as I started it that I didn’t know a damn thing about electricity. Honestly, nothing. I would read a page out loud and then go into a deep silence, reading the next page. I actually had no idea how they would explain it. Mulan said several times, “Why aren’t you reading out loud?!? Are you reading to YOURSELF?!??? You are supposed to be reading it TO me.” But I was so shocked. I didn’t know that electrons formed a current and jumped out of their atoms and all that. We wandered around the house tonight before I put her to bed looking at all the things that required electricity. I am astonished, amazed. Dear GOD, my science education is ridiculously lacking. I have so much to learn. We learned about turbines and alternative ways to generate electricity. We just saw all the windmills in Palm Springs. Mulan said, “Yeah. Yeah. I knew that they made electricity.” But the thing is, I never knew exactly how they did it! I am dumbfounded at my lack of knowledge.
If I was the last living human and another species came and asked me how things were done, I would have almost nothing to say that was useful. I would be able to tell them the story of how I became the last living human and I might make them laugh, but other than that – nothing. How did our cars work? I dunno. How did we light our houses? I have no idea. How did we communicate between computers? Sorry, no clue. I know you have to have this and that happen in the first two pages of a sit-com. I know how to blur your eyes so you don’t see the camera in front of your face when you act. I know how to use Final Draft for scripts. I know how to tell a joke.
Wait, I don’t even know jokes.
I may be taking a blogging break. I just feel beat and I need to be working on my book. I won’t make any declarations, but I think I need to concentrate and force myself to write the big long thing that’s standing between me and peace of mind.
But before I close, I wanted to say that I have just read all the comments to my last blog. And yes, to me mediation has nothing to do with religion. It’s a technique for focusing the mind and blasting through the din of all those blabbery mouth concerns that compete for prominence in my head. I don’t see it as anything other than that. I certainly don’t think I’m connecting to the universe – except that I can appreciate the universe a whole lot more than I would if I weren’t meditating.
And I thought about the idea that I’m trying to convert others to atheism in my show. That’s a good question. I am certainly arguing my point. But then, it’s not like I care about winning someone over as much as I care about taking someone on a dramatic journey that I experienced. Did I write “God Said Ha!” to make people more sympathetic to those battling cancer and their families and me? Maybe. But mostly, I just wanted to tell this story that means a lot to me. So, it’s a mix, I suppose. When I first wrote it, one of the reasons I wanted to tell my story was just so my family understood where I was coming from. They thought I had lost my mind. They couldn’t understand how anyone could come to the conclusions I had. But I figured I had spent thousands of hours in church, listening to people on TV and on radio, telling me all about God. And I just wanted a couple of hours to tell them what I experienced.
O Sheldon, how I love your comments. And Dejan2, I will remember you if I need a meditation person in New York. And as far as the “Jesus has a really bad weekend for our sins” line – remember I didn’t write that line, I heard it. I tried to find out who said it, but I couldn’t find out. That’s why I say, “I heard someone say once…” But in any case: yes, I suppose I want to get a laugh out of that line. I mean, it’s not even a hilarious line. But I guess that for me, it was also meaningful. I had been raised to always think that Jesus suffered more than anyone else could have EVER suffered. I just accepted that automatically without stopping and questioning Jesus’ suffering. But then, it occurred to me that not only did Jesus not physically suffer more than a lot of people, but what difference did that make anyway? Adding more suffering to the experience of a person or even a God doesn’t seem to make any difference to anything besides adding more suffering to the big pot of suffering that has been experienced. I guess that was when I really stopped and thought about the fundamental idea of atonement – that suffering can make up for other suffering.
Oh, and yes. It wasn’t exactly snowing in Palm Springs proper. But it was snowing just up the hill from the hotel we were staying at, just up a few feet. We could touch it. And so, that meant snow to me.
In any case. I am beat and headed for sleep. Thanks everyone for writing, I really enjoy hearing people’s comments. If I don’t write a blog entry for a while, please understand!
P.S. for some reason, my blog wouldn't accept my latest entry last night. So, I am now trying to publish it. Top of the morning to you! Next year, I think I'm going to do a special St. Patrick's Day show at Largo, the club I just did the show with Jill Sobule at. Irish poetry, songs, and stories. I have been speaking to the owner of that club for years about doing something like this. Next year St. Patrick's Day is on a Saturday, so it could be pretty great.