Practice Makes Perfect

by

And makes for fun.

“What will make this most enjoyable for your audience,” she asked me yesterday on the phone as I divulged I would be performing in a benefit this weekend.

“What can you do to have the most fun?” She added as I paused.

“I need to have the pieces memorized,” I replied.

I do not have the pieces memorized.

I have seven minutes to get up on a stage and do three pieces of poetry and then sit my ass back down and let other people have their go.

“It’s the most forgiving audience you will ever perform for,” my friend said, who is going to be ending the show.

Now, I feel confident that he knows what he’s saying and he also, I feel, has a leg up on me, as he plays classical Flamenco guitar.

I am just reciting some poems I wrote.

I feel a touch inadequate if the truth is to be told.

Which where else am I going to speak the truth, than here?

But, I said I would help and when it was suggested to me that I volunteer to perform, I said I would.

The participants are drawn randomly and I actually believed I would have a good shot at not getting picked.

There, I’ll show you, I’ll take your suggestion, but won’t have to do anything about it.

Win, win.

Except.

I got the e-mail while I was at Burning Man that my name had been, in fact, randomly selected, and I was slated to perform in the talent show.

Oops.

I knew immediately that I had one piece I could do, I’ve performed it before, in slams and on stage with a dj accompanying me, and even in Paris at the Paris Open Mic at Le Chat Noir.

So, that’s one piece.

But the others, well, I know them well, but not memorized.

Between getting back from New York, resigning from one job, accepting another, and just getting my feet underneath me from the frenetic travel from one coast to another with a lot of dust thrown in the mix, I had pretty much not thought about the show.

Until today.

Eek.

I have to start memorizing these pieces.

I mean, part of me thought, still thinks, that I could get up there and just read them, but that seems, somehow, to be failing the audience.

I don’t think it will be as much fun as if I just get up there and go at the work with it memorized.

Which means I have two longish pieces I need to commit to memory.

Fortunately I have tomorrow off.

I had today off as well, but I decided to do a little “staycation” action and I took myself to the Legion of Honor Museum over in the Outer Richmond.

I hadn’t been to that particular museum in years, I mean, like six or even seven.

My preference is typically for the DeYoung or the MOMA, but I have been to the DeYoung in recent memory and the MOMA is still closed for renovations.

While I was meditating today, the Legion of Honor popped into my brain.

Ok.

I can do that.

I didn’t even have to go far.

Just half a block down to the 46th and Judah and I caught the 18 bus, which dead ends at the Legion of Honor.  Then a small ticket fee, $10, with a discount when I was asked if I had taken the bus and I replied I had, they knocked off $2 when I showed my transfer.

Not too bad.

$8 to see Rodin.

The Kiss.

The Thinker.

The Man with a Broken Nose.

To get up close and personal to smell the marble to walk around the sculptures.

The Legion of Honor has more Rodin sculptures than any other museum outside of the Rodin Museum in Paris.

Which I had the pleasure of going to when I was in Paris.

I wandered through the sculpture, although I am not the biggest fan of sculpture, it is a marvel to see the Rodin’s, one that captured my fancy for some time was a small collection of miniature studies of just right feet.

Unimaginable how much time and effort devoted to just studying that one body appendage.

The Mighty Hand also captured me for a time.

It’s just a hand, a large hand, anatomically correct, and the ferocity of it, the brute strength, the curl of the fingers reaching and holding and grasping, astounding.

I love me some art.

I am perpetually grateful for all the art I have gotten to see in my life time and the knowledge that I will continue to allow myself to see more.

And to make some myself.

Whether it is performing my small body of work, hopefully memorized by Saturday, or taking a few photographs here and there, or writing a blog piece, I get to be a part of the conversation.

In some small part.

And that connects me, a small thread, a link to others.

I am in the moment that the artist creates and witness to it.

When I see art I like, I get a body high.

And though it did not happen when I looked at the Rodin’s, the sculptures can captivate me, they do not, however, give me that big arty high, I did get it when I wandered into a wing I had accidentally skipped the first go through the museum.

I got it first from a painting from Gustave Courbet of a wave.

Then intense, and dreaming in front of a Degas, and then again a Monet.

Delicious art.

Feed my soul.

Fill me up.

I don’t know that what I do will fill another with that kind of awe a superanuated feeling, but I can try.

I don’t compare myself to these artists so much as acknowledge that art means an awful lot to me, that my life would be lacking without art.

Whether it is a street art mural that makes me stop or it’s the layout of Burning Man in a photograph taken high above the playa from the wing of a Cessna airplane.

I know it when I see it.

I feel it.

I become it.

I hope that I will translate just a tiny touch of that this weekend.

Until then.

More reciting.

More practice.

Not for perfection.

But for fun.

For you.

My audience.

May I in some small part be an artist.

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