Coming Out of My Closet

I’m going to ask you to make a larger investment in this blog post than normal.  What comes next will make much more sense if you watch this video.  This is Ash Beckham, an LGBT advocate, delivering a TEDx talk in Boulder CO.  It’s 11 minutes long but worth the time.  It’s not really about what you probably think it’s about.  Just like this post.

Watch the Video.

So what’s my closet?  Well, to be honest, I probably have a lot of them.  I think most of us do.  There was one closet that came to mind as I listened to the video the first time.  It’s my darkest closet.  The one that scares me the most.  And I think it’s going to surprise you.

My whole life has revolved around the idea that I’m creative.  Actor, writer, photographer, story teller.  Here’s the truth – I have virtually never allowed myself to really do any of it.  I talk a good game.  I talk one helluva good game.  Since I left college I’ve been on stage once.  Virtually no one has seen any of my writing.  Or photography.  I have to be forced to play guitar or sing in public.

I’ve gotten away with just teasing creativity for years.  People are going to want to argue that I’ve done plenty creative things.  What I’m saying is that what I’ve done is the equivalent of sliding things out from under the closet door.  You can only get little things out that way.  And you can stay safely in the closet.

In the dark.

Where you won’t have to face the “hard talk”.

You see I am avoiding having the hard talk with myself.  If I come out of the closet, really take a shot at being creative, putting myself on the line, there’s a chance that I will crash and burn.  That’s what most people do.

(Is it?  Or is that just an excuse to keep that door securely shut?  So maybe I won’t be recognized as Hemingway.  How many people are?  Wait, I know that answer.  Exactly one.  Same number for Dickens and Grisham and King and Steele.  Is this about being creative or being successful?)

I stay in the closet because I won’t ever fail in there.  Except for the fact that staying in there IS failure.  No one can challenge my carefully crafted self image as a creative person if they’ve never seen my work.  I’m Harper Lee if she had stopped writing before “To Kill A Mockingbird”.  To that end I carefully never complete any of my creative works.  I’ve talked about a photo show.  Never done it.  I’ve worked on a novel for four years.  Never finish it.  A collection of short stories.  Not quite ready yet.  I never quite practice the guitar enough to get any better at it.

I need to have that hard talk with myself.  Which means I need to come out of my closet.  Kick open, pop open, slide open, ease open that door but I need to open it.

Take a shot.

Do my best.

Find out who I can be.  It might be a mediocre story teller, novelist, photographer or actor.

Or I might be the second Hemingway.

Time to begin opening that door.


For the Fallen

Today we remember all veterans but especially those who gave all.

From the poem “For the Fallen” by Laurence Binyon:

They went with songs to the battle, they were young.
Straight of limb, true of eyes, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.
(Full poem HERE)


Working with a group of folks under the name of “Artist Share” we did a little assignment yesterday.  The challenge was:

“If you knew that world was listening what question or statement would you put to the world?”

This is what I wrote:


Do not simply hear

But listen.

Stop the talking,

Stop the shouting,

Stop the whispering,


Stop the music,

Stop the praying,

Stop the praising,


Stop the movment,

Stop the action,

Stop the dancing,


Listen for crying,

Listen for laughter,

Listen for questions


Listen for anguish,

Listen for anger,

Listen for pain,


Listen for joy,

Listen for beauty,

listen for peace,


One Evening at Rider’s Cup

Sitting in a coffee house

Listening to a friend sing.

The barista is kinda cute

And I’m wondering,

What the hell am I doing here?

I’m almost 50,

And the barista is probably

About my daughter’s age.

I don’t even drink coffee.

But here I am.

It’s not like I imagined.

Not the coffee house,

Nor being almost 50.

I expected a little more

I feared it’d be a little less.

Aren’t coffee shops mythic places?

Isn’t 50 one step away from death?

This shop is clean and kinda cool,

And 50 looks kinda do-able

At least at the moment.

So 50 and the coffee shop

Are what they are.

So I guess I can relax,

And drink my chai latte,

While I listen to the music.

Something old

Tree Poem

I said at the beginning that this would be a place for work past, present and future. Well there are few pieces of my writing older than this (there is one that I’m still looking for). I thought I’d share this. It’s from the 5th grade. Call it my first experiment with multi-media. My listed title is simply “A Story”. The writing assignment was to do a variety of writing styles and tasks. Twelve pages in a careful but rather uneven hand. I wrote about Venezuela (no idea), my good friend Karl, “The Mighty Me” (I may share that one someday too), Indian religion (Aztec actually), a horse story, a travel story, a fictionalized biography of Jules Verne and more. What made this assignment worth keeping was the fact that it was the first time a teacher had told me that I was good at something. Really good at something. So I’ve held onto to it all for these many years.

Miss Sarah Magee was a lady of somewhat advanced years (her hair in the class photos is pure white). On the cover of my presentation she wrote two things that I hold onto. The first line of her comment is “You have great ability”. I’m still trying to believe that Miss Magee. The third line says “You have been an interesting student”. LOL! I’ll bet I was. I guess I still am.

So something old today.

My Cat Hates Me

And I don’t know why.

My other cats all loved me.

I picked this one out,

a kitten at the SPCA .

A sister to the one

chosen by my daughter.

My cat wasn’t my cat for long

She loves, worships and adores

My wife.

There were these pills

Back when she was a kitten.

Is she still angry about that?

The cat and I will spend the day together

And I will not hear a mew.

Until my wife’s car pulls in

Then the cat will not shut up,

till she’s been given a lap,

and plenty of petting.

I have a lap.

And I like cats.

But that means nothing,

because my cat hates me.