Happy Endings

JIMMY STEWART in IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE

I grew up in a World of Happy Endings!
I remember watching Movies on television.
Television was relatively new.
And that did not seem at the time like something that would date me the way typing that sentence does now.
As the movie ended and LASSIE came home,
Or ANNA and the KING of SIAM Danced, and she stayed to take care of his Children,
Or ROCK HUDSON and DORIS DAY worked out their relationship,
Or JUDY GARLAND and MICKEY ROONEY got their show up and it was a Success…
I remember how MOM would sigh a sigh of greatest satisfaction and say something like, “All Right. See? Everything worked out all right!,”
Usually followed by “OK, time for bed now,”
as we were often allowed to stay up late to watch the end of the Movie.

Now, I go to sleep with news reports like the dropping of the GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast.
I do not sleep well anymore — like most Americans that I know.
I am longing to hear MOM’s satisfied sigh
“All Right. See? Everything worked out all right!,”
And I notice that Happy Endings are not so readily available.
LA LA LAND… Not for me.
And when people say, ‘Oh, but they did end up Happy. They each realized their dream and they held a special place in one another’s Lives,”
I say, “That is Ordinary!
That is what we are already Living .
What we aspire to — that is what the Arts are for!”
ASPIRE!
REACH HIGHER!
Let us be Inspired — that word, meaning literally, to Take in Air!
Take my Breath Away, that I might Breathe Again — filling my lungs with Fresh Clean Oxygen, given us by every Green Living Thing on this Planet!
Teach Us how it can be!
Even if we don’t reach it in our LifeTime, allow us for a few hours — even for a moment — to See, to Feel, what it Can Be!

Give me ARRIVAL — take a Risk and against all odds; Find a way to Peace!
Give me HIDDEN FIGURES and Help me to see the possibilities of Accomplishment in a time period in which such things seemed un-doable, and Happen Anyway!
Give me the Glorious ending of CINEMA PARADISIO!
Give me Triumph!
Give me True Love!
Give me what I am here to Learn!

Back when I saw HAIRSPRAY for the first time, years ago at its Broadway Premiere, I explained to my Office Colleagues why I Loved it So Much!
Redemption!
For me, a Musical, a Show, a Movie… a Story must have REDEMPTION!
That’s what I am going for!
That is why I am there!
Here is my Acid Test for a Play or Movie:
“I am giving you two hours of my Life! Change Me!”
And if you change me for the Better, I like it even More!

A few days later, a Colleague asked me, rather casually, “ARNIE, have you seen JUNO?”
“Not yet,” I replied.
“Well, I think you’re gonna’ like it!” he told me. “It’s got a lot of that Redemptive Shit in it that you like so much!”

The World is in a troubled place, at the moment.
So many of us have felt the tremors — to our Very Foundations!
But as Artists, we Reach Beyond,
Elevate,
Extend,
Dream Bigger,
Make Waves,
Invite New Possibilities,
And See More than just what’s in front of us!

My Heart Aches for this new Generation coming forward in a World As Is,
And mistakenly thinking that that is how it has to be.
The World is not a Factory Second.
The World is a Launching Pad for your Dreams!
The World is So Many People Beyond yourself who need precisely what it is that You have to Offer!
The World is a Pot of Boiling Eggs with Vinegar and You are the Color!
The World is a Blank Canvas and You are the Vision!
The World is a Pile of FireWorks on a Summer Night and You are the Flame that ignites it!
The World is a Piano and You are the Musician!
We have no need for you to create the World as it is! We know that already!
We need You to show us how Everything works out All Right!
We need you to help us Find a way to Peace!
We need You for the World as it Could Be!

Somehow, we have a plethora of Art right now reflecting back to us what we are.
This has Value.
And this has Merit.
But this is not what I’m in it for!

BARBARA STANWYCK in STELLA DALLAS

As RAFIKI says in THE LION KING, “Look Harder!”
Find within you what you have to Show Us…
What you have to Teach Us…
Help us to see what it is about you for which the World has waited Centuries!
Let us Celebrate your Arrival!
And in this brief time we have together,
Show Us what to do Next!

If a Happy Ending does not seem realistic enough to you right now,
Then you are not looking beyond what has already been handed to you!
Life is a Collaborative Process!
It is not for you to reflect back that which we already have.
It is yours to Create for us that which we most need!

Bring it!
It is what you came to do!

# # #

On the Border of Us and Them

from THE COURSE IN MIRACLES

from THE COURSE IN MIRACLES

I don’t want there to be an “Us” and “Them.”
I am trying to avoid that path of thinking.
UNITED States!
UNITED States!
Stay UNITED!

Trying to get on with my Life and get back to Writing and Working and Taking Care of MOM,
Casting Shows, and Being Present in my Teaching, and Organizing for Christmas, and Cooking for GivingThanks Day…
I have to make Apple Sauce!
(I know. Who does that!?)

I go back and forth
Between my Fundamental Belief in the Good of People
And Trying to pick Myself Up Off the Floor from all of this!
(more…)

HOPE (Still and Again)

and-the-light-shines-on-in-the-darkness-and-the-darkness-did-not-overcome-it-john-1_5Hope
And Despair
Hope
And Despair
Hope
And Despair
And Hope…
And Hope…
And Action!
Hope and Action…

The first thing I noticed Wednesday Morning,
Was how Kind Everyone had become — all of a sudden.
(more…)

States of America

i-must-learn-forgiveness-yet-again-at-this-stage-of-life-i-must-learn-it-as-if-for-the-very-first-time“There is no way to Peace. The way is Peace.”
— A. J. MUSTE

As early as Kindergarten, every Grammar School Class I remember began with the Pledge of Allegiance:
“I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America…”
Even today, I take that pledge very seriously.
It never occurred to any of us then that there might come a day when we would be somehow Less United.
Yet here we are, at Election 2016.

I want to Show Love and Respect for Every One of God’s Creatures.
I want to see the Good in People.
I want to Live in a World that is Peaceful and Brimming Over with Beauty and Love and Rampant Kindness.
I am Imperfect — very much so — but these are the Ideals toward which I strive.
(more…)

Twelfth Night

TALU GREEN in the Broadway Musical, FELA!

TALU GREEN in the Broadway Musical, FELA!

And on the Twelfth Day of Christmas…
Twelve Drummers Drumming.

Said to symbolize The Twelve Points of Doctrine in the Apostle’s Creed
or the Twelve Apostles themselves
or the Twelve Tribes of Israel
or the Twelve Prophets…

GEEZ! Sometimes I think we just insist on putting GOD to Sleep!
What’s wrong with Twelve Drummers Drumming!?
I feel Certain that GOD likes Drummers!
…I mean, way more than the Twelve Points of Doctrine in the Apostles Creed!
There’s nothing wrong with those,
But Drummers are More Fun!
I believe that GOD Likes FUN!
I also Believe that GOD likes BARACK OBAMA’s 2016 Executive Order taking action to reduce Gun Violence.

Twelve Days of Christmas! (more…)

Onions

IMG_4108Onions are SO FREAKIN’ DELICIOUS!
Cut ‘em up and fry ‘em in a pan with a little bit of oil.
That’s all you have to do.

Ever watch Onions Cook?
They start out So Big and Robust — Raw and Hardy Vegetable Chunks.
They’re Beautiful.
And they make you Cry.

Then, the Heat gets to them.
They separate into thin strips.
They start to sweat.
It looks like things are gonna’ be pretty bad for the Onion.

Sautee’ ‘em a Bit.
(more…)

He Met With WHO???

The Universe has Its Say

The Universe has Its Say

POPE FRANCIS seems a pretty Cool Guy.

I mean, especially compared to his Dangerous Predecessor,
A Murderer I equate on a par with RONALD REAGAN:
POPE BENEDICT, formerly “CARDINAL RATZINGER,” a Hitler Youth who back in the Eighties authored the document, “On The Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons” which implied that the Murder of Homosexuals was something brought upon themselves by their behavior.
I have a copy of this Document.

POPE FRANCIS made his visit to the United States
Shaking hands with people so as to avoid having his Ring Kissed.
Speaking his Truth regardless of whom it might offend,
Speaking Out against Global Warming,
Calling for the Abolishment of the Death Penalty
Speaking in Favor of Equality…
Cool Guy! (more…)

HAPPY EASTER!

IMG_4539To the Lovely People with whom I had EASTER DINNER,

Thank You!
The Lamb was So Delicious!
The Asparagus So Green and Tender!
The Potatoes roasted to perfection!
…All served on Royal Doulton China, no less!

There was that moment in the middle of the meal when the Hostess, apropos of Nothing, blurted out, “UH! And isn’t it Terrible what is Going on in Indiana! How about That!”
Of course, I’ve been hearing that all week long, so it seemed topical.
That is until the part I have not heard before amidst my social circles…
“Those poor people having their Religious Freedom Attacked!”
“And Those Corporations pulling out! And trying to pull the BasketBall away! It’s such an Assault!”
“The headline in the paper read, ‘Will Not Serve Gays!’ and it wasn’t even True! They didn’t say that they wouldn’t serve Gays! They just said that they wouldn’t cater their Wedding!”
The thick rumble of “DAMN that Liberal Media!” was palpable in the room.
I summon my Inner JON STEWART! (more…)

Why Is This Happening For Me?

UnknownThe Most Full Of Wonder Reverend Dr. EDGARD FRANCISCO DANIELSEN-MORALES,
gave a Sermon some time ago at MCC New York www.mccny.org
in which he talked of the importance of learning how to
Stop asking,
“Why is this happening to me?”
and Begin asking,
“Why is this happening for me?”
(more…)

Water Slide

Circular Water SlideDid you ever go to a Water Park?
I went to a few when I was a kid — not with regularity and I couldn’t tell you where
But I remember Water Slides
Climbing seemingly endless staircases to the top
Being given a mat of some kind
And sitting on it at the top of the Slide.
Ready to take off

I would hold on to the slight railing along my section of the slide,
Making My Way Down in Stops and Starts
Afraid to Let Go Completely
(more…)