Times New Groban


The Jack I knew had a wry wit and a fixed smirk that entrenched the laugh lines around his eyes. His eyes, which were impossible to ignore, sparkled an ocean blue. When you looked in them, you’d be hard pressed to find any trace of the fact that some seventy-five years ago, Jack served as a sergeant in the American army. War seemed like an unnatural place for him to be. Though I suppose that should be said of most.

Soon after the war, Jack met his life’s partner Jimmy. They would open a successful drapery business together. They worked and loved through the years in a rarified air we’d all be lucky to breathe. At some point they would move to a peaceful one story house in a quiet neighborhood in Los Angeles. And some years after that, my parents moved in next door.

Jimmy passed before I was old enough to know him, but for the entirety of my life I had the great joy of knowing Jack. One time as kids, my brother and I were left at home alone for a brief moment in the daylight hours. When we were spooked by what I recall as a benign force, a noise or a shadow, we had no way to call out to our parents. It was the 90’s, as people of the age loved reminding each other. So instead, we ran next door to Jack. We didn’t know him particularly well, we were kids. But he welcomed us over as if it were normal, as if we weren’t uprooting his day with our childhood neuroses. He calmed us down until our parents got home, not a hint of inconvenience. That’s just the way Jack was. The second you met him, you knew him. And he wanted you to. 

Over the years we’d pay him sporadic visits. The time between them didn’t matter, he lived in the moment. And in every moment shared with him, we felt genuinely important. 

Last month, Jack passed away. He was 103 years old. As I sat at his funeral and listened to the packed congregation share stories, I confirmed what I already assumed, that Jack was this way to everyone. He exuded kindness wherever he stood, which was a lot of places.

Up until only a few years ago, Jack traveled the world by himself. He was revered in Japan as a designer, and travelled there frequently throughout his life. He flew to Machu Pichu, to the Amazon, to the Pyramids. In my mind, someone like Jack should have in the final years of his life expressed some sort of exhaustion or completeness. But from I could tell, he never tired of the world. For him, it was an endless source of meaning. There were still people he’d yet to meet, a rare few places he’d yet to travel. Had his body not made the choice for him, it’s obvious that Jack would still be throwing the proverbial dart at a spinning globe.

I’ve been thinking about Jack. I can’t ignore the correlation of his longevity to his severe lack of stagnation. I think the heart stops beating when it has little reason to. And I’ve felt at moments in my life that those reasons can be hard to come by.

Even if you like what you do for a living, work isn’t enough. It is, however, the majority of what you do. Maybe you get a couple hours in the evening to enjoy the moments the rest of your day pays for. One or two nights on the weekend to stay up late and feel electric. But one day you might wake up, more time passed than ahead, unable to remember why you worked so hard.

We all spin those plates in different ways to keep afloat the menagerie of our survival. Day after day, we run from one thing to the next. The rent check, the insurance, the taxes, the resume drafts and the interviews, the network and the new work. Conference calls, meetings, billable hours spreadsheet. Change trains, fill your tank, one-handed breakfast sandwich to go. Your doctor has notes, a line at the pharmacy, and pills that look like placebos. The ill-defined specter of the DOW’s position leers at the back of your neck. Google how an IRA works. Toss out those tomatoes because you didn’t have time to cook this week. Feel bad. Give change to the guy outside Starbucks. Feel good. Swear to volunteer, put some money in savings, take it out for an emergency. Buy a new phone. Buy a new computer. Buy, buy, buy. Scroll, click, double-click. Spin, spin, spin. Sip a drink, brush your teeth, take your eyes out. Sleep.

And you wake up some day, unsure where it began. Or where you are. But too afraid to pause for fear of any plates crashing to the floor. To pivot at all almost assuredly requires this. And so you don’t. You stagnate. Your heart beats fast, stagnation can be exhausting. But it beats out of obligation.

At some point in the last few years, this feeling arrived in me. And you must know, I happen to like what I do for a living. As a commercial director, days are nebulous, but pretty satisfying. I get to flex a creative muscle for a living. I like taking a batch of sometimes incongruous ideas and spinning them into something beautiful. I like collaborating and I like leading. In fact, I like to work hard.

Nevertheless, I found myself stuck in the spin cycle of a personal routine, one that was crafted to be predictable. Comfort is an incredible force and very difficult to give up. It is the thing you spin for, really. To take a chance, the chance that some plate might fall, would be to throw into peril the paid for apartment and disposable income and the cushy LA days that seamlessly fade into years.

Comfort isn’t free, though. At least, it’s not absolute. It’s a goose feather pillow with a single needle buried somewhere inside. Some day it will come to prick you. That needle is the day you wake up, some time down the line, unable to change the lack of choice you made. Maybe it isn’t today or tomorrow. I couldn’t even see that day, it was so far away. I didn’t have to. The very notion of its existence was the sole reason to rise up and spin these plates again at a neurotic pace. Keep this life afloat, never mind the purpose, the purpose will come. Let the day’s assembly of duties consume you enough so that if and when that needle pokes through, you will at least be able to say you tried. Work long and hard enough to avoid that feeling of regret some day, even if you’ve forgotten what it is you’re working so hard for. So I kept spinning. Spinning and spinning in the hope it would serve some purpose, knowing at a minimum it would serve to protect my feelings one morning years from now.

And then, a strong wind blew in. I paused. My heart stopped altogether. And in the distance I heard some faint crashing sound as I looked into her eyes and fell in love.

It had to be that. Because if it were anything else, I would have shut the door on the draft. That too had become a rote exercise over the years. But I didn’t, even if I had some cause to.

She lives in New York, a continent away from my comfortable hometown of Los Angeles. That would be uncomfortable enough to put a stop to it. And yet, after we met, we spent day after day talking over the phone. I was and am so utterly thankful to have met in the modern age. Those computers and phones I worked so hard to buy, it turns out, achieved some deeper purpose other than to be bought. They allowed us to date from different oceans.

We both knew it was remarkable, but not sustainable. Watching a glass fill with water isn’t the same as drinking it. There comes a point where the screen dividing you becomes more noticeable, more infuriating. And so I committed to a change. I pushed the door open wider and let the draft turn into a breeze.

As I type this late on a Tuesday, I notice that in exactly thirty-four minutes I will be thirty-four years old. If you’d asked me a year ago if I would be spending my next birthday searching for apartments in New York, well, it would be a surprise. It would have to be a damn good reason, I’d have probably thought. To disrupt all this comfort I’ve worked so hard for, the plates spinning at due speed.

Within the next couple months, I will be moving my life to Brooklyn, NY. The times at large are changing under our feet, and it appears I’ve begun to grip on for the ride. I can’t wait to begin this new chapter. I will be taking some plates with me (taxes I suppose). I wish I could bring more, like my friends and my parents, who I will miss more than I can express. But again I take some solace in the modern world, thankful for the ability to travel back as spontaneously as Jack.

A place is just a place. Los Angeles has been my residence for thirty-four years, but my home is with a select few people. From what I gathered, Jack didn’t travel just to tick a name off a list. He went to meet people, to engage with new and different lives. To expand his home outward in the same way he let us into his as kids.

I think about having a family in a way I never did ten years ago. Or at least, it’s not so abstract. And I think about what to tell this hypothetical little person what life will be like by the time they’re eighteen. Beats me. In the twelve years since I graduated film school, movies have been shot on telephones.

I guess I’ve realized that gripping onto any set plan so tightly is more futile now than it’s ever been. What I’ve experienced in NY with this person who collided into my life is something I couldn’t have predicted or planned. No amount of spinning my routine would have ever guaranteed such a thing.

The irony of it all is I feel more comfortable now than I ever did. Real comfort, not manufactured. It’s not predicated on time sheets or bills or the DOW, whatever that is. All it required me to do was to stop spinning for five minutes. Long enough to lock eyes.

I’ve always disliked when people have a good day and then pretend to know the secrets of the universe. I want to point my hands at you and tell you to just stop what you’re doing and you’ll figure it out. But I don’t know that. If anything this good could be planned, then it surely would have been bought by a conglomerate and shipped through Amazon Prime by now.

What I can tell you is that a plate falling, a plan failing, is not a bad thing. Because you just bought yourself a minute to rest. To reassess. Maybe you find nothing in that moment. Maybe everything.

I will continue to direct, just as I’ve done. I’ll be writing, hopefully more than I did last year. I’ll be living that freelance dream-slash-nightmare because I’m too spoiled to work in an office. Some things never change.

But I will be doing it all with a smile in my mind, and a heart that beats for a good reason. The best reason, who just fell asleep on me.

And I just turned a year older.


The Peace Problem


Just as I began writing this some days ago, a bomb was discovered at the offices of CNN in midtown Manhattan. The following day, another was discovered at Robert Deniro’s Tribeca restaurant, just blocks away from where I was working. More bombs were collected on their way to the homes of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. I already knew what would happen next.

Those who identify with the Democratic Party will highlight the targets as a clear indicator of who is responsible. Not what person specifically, but what ‘side’. That is, the other side. Donald Trump will be accused of stoking the flames of violence and blamed for what could have been a historical tragedy, and his supporters will further be defined as ‘deplorable’, as Hillary Clinton once characterized, for seeking such criminal tactics for political gain.

Those who identify with the Republican Party will disavow and deflect. Of course, only one person (or perhaps a few) are directly responsible for these attempted attacks, so it is unfair to blame the millions of non-bomb-building Republicans. Free speech allows anyone, even the president, to bellow fiery rhetoric against ‘the other side’. To blame the Republican Party then, they’ll say, will be to demand censorship, a clear anti-constitutional stance and further proof that the Democratic Party is composed of an anarchic mob.

One day, pending a complete breakdown of our government, Donald Trump will not be in office. It will be someone else. I don’t know what party that person will affiliate with, but I am again certain of the protocol that follows.

One party will vilify him or her. The other will embrace. You will be among one group or the other. We might like to believe that when the time comes we will make a concerted choice, based on thoughtful debates, analysis, and million-dollar ad campaigns. But as it stands, the choice has been made. You subscribe to a side already. You don’t need a menu to know whether you want Coke or Pepsi. And we’re all frustrated that no restaurant serves both.

It’s a question that is so at the core of our everyday that it has in real time become cliché: how will we ever unite as a country? This question begs another, one which despite the cliché of it’s predecessor seems never to be mentioned in any public discourse. What I’d really love to know is…what does peace even look like?

In full disclosure, I’ve never voted for a Republican candidate, because I generally disagree with most of their stated platform. But today I find myself trying very hard to understand this ‘other side’. I don’t mean that sarcastically. I am trying to understand.

I want to understand because I want to believe there is a reason we feel the way we do. To believe that we didn’t all just wake up one day with the lines drawn around us, our pajamas painted blue or red while we slept. If we find the reasons beneath the rhetoric, perhaps an understanding will follow.

It is for many a difficult proposition to understand a diametrically opposed viewpoint. But I believe if each of us doesn’t make an attempt, then we have no basis for asking for understanding in return.

For instance, I’m of the ‘side’ that believes gay marriage should be embraced. I am firm in my knowledge that being gay or straight is not a polar choice but an innate spectral part of us, and in a world where love is no guarantee, to deny it when gloriously found is akin to denying free water on a hot day.

But what if I attempted to reconcile the other side? How could one believe homosexuality is a choice and devote so much time toward stonewalling other people’s happiness?

There’s at least one explanation. Someone who believes sexual identity is a choice might presumably do so in order to deny their own instincts. Only if it’s a choice can one then choose not to be it. If you are closeted for one reason or another, the worst would be if you had no choice to change that feeling. Then that would mean you just have to be gay.

There are of course answers to why someone would be ashamed of that. Professional pressure. Dogmatic religionists. Corporal punishment. Whatever the reason, perhaps there’s value at least in knowing there is one. And if that reason is tragic, perhaps you could find sympathy for someone you disagree with.

If your entire life is an exercise in suppressing urges, imagine how callous you might become. I can understand how someone like that might expel a gross amount of energy to shield from this lurking truth. This person might grow up to campaign against gay rights, either to ease his ‘choice’ through diminishing the other option, or simply to punish others who don’t share the burden of his upbringing.

Republican Ohio state representative Wes Goodman stepped down last year after being caught having sex in his office with a man who is not his wife. Mr. Goodman was until that point a staunch conservative, promoting anti-LGBT legislation and ‘natural marriage’ as he defined it between a man and a woman. He resigned for ‘inappropriate conduct,’ by which we can presume he means that he cheated on his wife, and not the fact that he is to some degree gay.

Now, I don’t know the reasons why this man did what he did. In 2015, he was accused of sexually assaulting an 18-year-old man, shortly before being elected, so it is possible that he has a history of salacious behavior that was either encouraged or ignored. If true, it’s a difficult thing to forgive. But if he were a man who has bottled a feeling for so long, lived a lie every day of his life, can you understand, despite disagreeing? Can you reason someone’s actions while despising them? 

The more I consider it, the more I believe that peace necessitates our ability to do this.

Because all of us were raised in some fashion against our will. Even if a man like Goodman compresses his desires for reasons less sympathetic, let’s say for power and prestige, there must surely be an underlying reason for that which we might understand. A need to impress his father or some never-defined inferiority complex. Whatever the case, at the root of such hypocritical iniquity has to lie some understandable reason.

I can understand, it turns out, the position of at least someone who opposes gay rights. I understand it, despite my strongly disagreeing. I would also disagree with the reasons that led to that position. I disagree all the way down the line to whatever the hell made someone afraid to be himself. And if that ends up at a kid with scars on his back the shape of his father’s buckle, I wonder if anyone from the other side would be willing to understand that.

But you won’t ever see that kid. You’ll only see the politician he became. You see the state legislator asking for privacy from his electorate, a man shielding his eyes from those who paid for his office. A difficult time for sympathy. But if you disagree vehemently, it is still possible to understand. After all, it’s what you’re asking the other side to do.

We’d like to imagine peace as a natural phenomenon, like some pervasive air, that if people like Goodman would only stop spewing hate then we’d all have enough to breath.

Peace, however, seems more elusive than that. The U.S. has been in conflict for far more years than not. Since its inception, the United States has only witnessed 21 total years of peace. If anything, conflict is our constant nature. And that idea fits into daily life too. You fight for a promotion. To get that date. Beat that light. You fight with yourself over your own body and what it should look like. Maybe you’re living in a rough neighborhood where every day is real survival. Maybe you carry a gun all the time.

Peace in the modern age is an image of ineffectuality. And image counts for a lot. Just like campaigning as an Ohio state representative. You must look tough, and say tough things. And soon enough, you’ll be doing tough things too.

We envision peace as the lack of fight. That’s the problem.

Peace is boring. It has no shape. It’s quiet. Where we used to have the satisfaction of winning, with peace, there’s no winning or losing. No satisfaction. Life just is.

How can any of us viably fight for something we can’t even define? Instead, one side will target the other, suggesting that if we just fight to the death and win then we will finally achieve lasting peace, despite the fact that we’ve never witnessed that even once in the course of human history.

In fact, we tried this. This country, which fought so hard to successfully excise itself from tyranny, couldn’t last even a hundred years before ripping itself apart at the seams. We had every opportunity for peace, but it wasn’t our goal.

We got caught up in states vs federal rights, who owns slavery and should slavery be a thing at all. There is no logical middle ground between the North and the South, no due center where slavery was only sort of acceptable. Because peace has no inherent meaning, it meant something different for each side.

We can fight for our freedom and win it, but that’s where it always seems to end. Freedom at some point replaced peace as a goal.

Freedom in its raw unpolished form looks a lot like anarchy. Laws are after all make-believe, so anarchy dictates you do what you want. The belief is that people do not need the government to tell them how to co-exist. I have no idea if that’s true, but if only for traffic and food safety laws, I’m personally happy we don’t live in total anarchy.

Freedom is not necessarily counter to peace, but it requires understanding. The inevitable byproduct of freedom is disagreement. Someone’s free choice will upset you at some point. That disagreement can lead to conflict, and that’s why our centuries of freedom have lead to centuries of war.

If you take that modicum of effort to understand though, the disagreement loses its teeth, the war is preempted. Accept that the person you disagree with exists, as inexplicably as you do, and believe that person is sincere. You don’t have to change their mind to find peace, but you have to understand.

As we enter a highly contentious midterm election, I am yearning for a candidate that I have never seen. I don’t want one side or the other to win, because that will always produce a loser, which will beget more anger. 

I want the peace candidate. Someone who accepts the reality that this country will never fully agree on anything. We are on many issues looking at each other as the problem. But if someone could dissolve the ‘sides’ and center around the root problems that foment into violent discontent, then I would campaign for that person all day long.

Here’s another social impasse. I believe that women should have the right to abort a pregnancy.

I don’t know if science will ever allow men to know what it’s like to be pregnant, but if we could get pregnant, I’m fairly certain we’d all be pro-choice. Nevertheless, the disagreement on this issue feels insurmountable.

As I view it with my man eyes, the issue boils to its essence with personal agency, control of your own body. Stripping control of another’s body has many names, none of them good, such as kidnapping, prison, and aforementioned slavery.

Where your body is concerned, you expect freedom. Get a tattoo. Lose weight. Shave your back. You can take hormones to change multiple facilities in your body. If it were possible to chop off your body altogether and keep your head running in a jar, the government would have no particular opposition to this because it is your personal freedom. The problem only arises from creating another person inside your own body.

If you conceive another tiny body inside of your body, is it your body? If you take away the politics for a moment, it’s kind of an awesome thought. It makes me wonder, when do we exist?

Does physical attachment define a single body, or does consciousness? Can two consciousnesses reside in the same body, legally speaking? If a life is unaware of itself, does it exist at all? Does that mean I didn’t really exist till I was about three? And does that mean your reality isn’t shared with others because in their reality you’ve already existed for three years and in your reality you just came about?

I wish political discourse was more like this. Partly because it’s interesting, and partly because we’d so quickly realize that we will never have a definitive answer on any of this. Both sides argue with complete certainty over something we must all admit eludes us.

If you believe life begins at conception, and have additionally imbued that with a higher cosmic meaning, then why not believe in an equally strict law governing when and how men can have sex? After all, we’re talking about the very creation of precious life. This is nothing to trifle with. I would also expect an eighteen-year plan until the new life is capable of self-governance. If you wouldn’t allow harm at a point when the proper synapses required to feel harm have even developed, then I would expect more personal devastation when a child goes hungry.

And if you believe in legal abortion, well, you might believe in that for different reasons. Perhaps you don’t believe consciousness begins at conception. Or perhaps you do but see abortion as a difficult but necessary part of the modern world. 

Or maybe you just believe a woman’s body and everything inside it is her own, despite that biologically this new life is made of two different people. Genetically, a baby is as much the father’s as the mother’s. Ownership of one’s body then becomes a complicated matter, because there is a third body that isn’t entirely the mother’s. It isn’t entirely anyone’s.

In some countries, the spouse is required to give approval for an abortion. These particular laws are of course cruelly flawed, because in solving one problem you create another, which is removing personal control from women over their own body.

This particular issue seems binary. If you make it right for one side, the other necessarily loses. It is on an issue like this that I wonder how peace is possible.

But what if we didn’t take sides at all? We may never find an answer to the nature of life or pinpoint the moment we exist. So instead of facing each other at a line in the hopes one side just gives in, we could together circle the actual problem.

The truth of the abortion debate is that the problem is the same for everyone: nobody wants an abortion. The decision to abort a pregnancy is not made flippantly. It is a traumatic experience, sometimes a shameful one. It is not a good day in any woman’s life. Perhaps—all sides might humbly agree that no one wants to need an abortion.

A circle has formed around a problem. How do we foster the scenario where abortions are less common?

The quick and heartless option is to close down clinics and plug our ears when someone explains how back alley abortions work. That is not even close to peace.

If we dug through our disagreement, we might find something we understand. For instance, I don’t see a reverence for human life as a bad thing. But that reverence alone is not enough to stop the scenarios that lead to an abortion. And neither is firebombing clinics.

We could instead promote more educational programs to discuss sexual maturity, because in the post-internet age our kids are learning the wrong lessons all on their own. We could advise safe sex with contraceptives, which prove effective at reducing teen pregnancy rates. If we wanted to get deep, we could develop accessible mental health programs for men who fit a profile to commit rape and perhaps discourage that from happening in the first place.

Even with all that, at some point, someone might still find themselves needing an abortion. But by then, perhaps the anti-abortionist side will have joined the pro-choice side enough to feel like some exceptions can be made. They worked together toward a common problem, any slips through the cracks are theirs to own together. They might be inclined to have sympathy for each other.

If both sides looked at the central problem, they’ll see that the problem isn’t sex, it’s unwanted pregnancy. It’s not unholy women, it’s sexual behavior and rape. Agreeing on the root problem is a step toward understanding, and understanding is critical to peace. If I can fight to understand an anti-LGBT adulterer, then I expect it is at least possible for an anti-abortionist to understand a decent woman on the worst day of her life.

Peace is messy. You can’t expect peace to always feel good. They say that a good deal is when both sides are mutually uncomfortable, and I think there’s some wisdom in that. Because so long as we insist on finding the true winner, we will continually fight not to be the loser. Only if we remove the red and the blue altogether can we begin to define peace.

Twice a year in Siena, Italy, a famous centuries-old horse race known as the Palio di Siena takes place. Siena is comprised of seventeen wards, known as contrade, and each ward has a horse and jockey in the race. In any given race, only ten of the seventeen contrade will participate, the last seven racing in the next Palio.

The race is only 90 seconds or so, but the whole event lasts about a week. And during the week, each contrada’s pride is on full display. In fact, these factions are so old, some living within the same ward for centuries, that it becomes far more than a horse race. It’s personal.

Friends and family alike will feel this divide throughout the week. When I studied in Italy, locals would share stories of wives and husbands living in separate quarters during this week, if their respective families originally came from different contrades. If you come from generations of Sienese, you will indeed be forced (willingly) into jeering the opposing contrade, some of which assuredly hold your friends and loved ones.

The race itself is highly controversial for its historic lack of safety measures. Jockeys have been severely injured, horses have been killed. But when the 90 seconds are up, if your contrada won, you’re not worrying about that. You’re celebrating.

Why is this race so important? The original Palio was a replacement for bullfighting, which was outlawed in 1590. It was originally raced with buffalo, then donkeys, and eventually horses in 1633.

I’m sorry, you wanted to know why the race is so important. It’s not. It’s really really not. Friends and family forget their love in favor of flag loyalty. Animals have literally died. Sure you might get to toast champagne, but it’s far more likely you’ll lick your literal wounds. Nevertheless, they’ve been doing it for centuries. And even new countries like the U.S. have a hard time breaking tradition.

Like the World Series, the Super Bowl, the Stanley Cup…every emotion is centered around being the sole winner. Because somewhere in the neolithic parts of our DNA, we know that winning means survival, and losing means death. Losing means your family ends forever.

Peace, it would be easy to say, would follow the dissolution of the Palio. The race would be nought. There would be no contrades, only one city. Friends and family could remain so without the obligatory week of vitriol. People would come to realize the contrade, much like our district lines, have been adjusted and rejoined over the years, affirming that all of it is fabricated to begin with.

Here lies the problem that worries me. We could become so enlightened as to dissolve all sides, whether political party or neighborhood or sports teams. We might then become closer to that vision of circling a problem as a single group.

But what if peace itself is the problem?

I have a guess as to why they continue the Palio after all these years. It’s the same reason we watch the Super Bowl despite the almost guaranteed cognitive trauma it encourages. It’s the same reason a hockey fan like me can argue in 2018 for bare knuckle fist fighting to occur at any point in a match.

We’re built to fight. Sports, competition of any kind, allows us to release that valve. Like your sweetheart pug disemboweling a goose down pillow, we bring that ancient anger with us into everything from daily life to politics. Maybe you’re not competing against a person, maybe you just need to get a project done by store close and you’re fighting the clock. Whatever the enemy, it seems we are always inclined to find one.

Peace removes that valve release. Deep down, we’re addicted to competition. We haven’t evolved for peace. Not only that, but peace makes us vulnerable. And nature itself pits the fittest against the weakest to survive. After all, it’s the reason we homo sapiens are still here to argue with each other.

But just as we’ve evolved into our love-of-winning selves now, it is possible to evolve further.

Peace needs rebranding. It needs to be taken out of abstract fantasy and given dimension. Because peace does not come from winning, and certainly not from losing. We pass peace by every time we oscillate along this history of conflict.

I hope at some point we can enter a non-accusatory tone as a country, and work together against what I see as overlapping problems rather than each other.

Fighting is really easy. It appears to be the most natural part of ourselves. It’s the part that makes someone build bombs and put them in the mail when they’re angry.

Peace is way more impressive. Because you must fight yourself, your own instincts and beliefs. You must fight the urge to label those who protest against you an enemy. You don’t have to agree, but you must try to understand. 

I’m inclined to believe that rhetoric from our president did encourage a man to put bombs in the mail. But I also believe there are other reasons that go far back, that this man was once a boy, and somewhere in between he became very lost. Perhaps an understanding back then would have prevented this altogether.

None of this is to say don’t vote. No need to be extremist. Voting is one of the most pure and beautiful parts of our growing country. Please vote your heart out and do your best with the system that’s in place. Hey, maybe we will all agree some day that fair, accurate, and inclusive elections are the perfect example of a mutual problem that we can all solve together!

This is not an overnight change. Just nurture that seed of empathy, spread some around. You will at some point again feel that sharp pang of anger when you hear an opponent argue against you. It makes you want to shout back, to label the other. But if you can try instead to understand, you will have accomplished something that entire empires have failed to do. You will have inadvertently built peace.

© C G 2018

Human Orientation

short story

To Our fellow Consciousness, 

Congratulations! You’re next. Thank you for waiting. The human experience is a popular choice.

We understand it’s been centuries, but We ask just a few more moments of Our infinite time to explain what you’ve signed up for. This is entirely for your sake. We find that after this orientation, some decide to forgo the human experience. Should you choose to continue, rest assured you’ll want to be as prepared as possible.

There is no need to take notes. You won’t remember any of this.

For this orientation, We’ve chosen the popular English language. Once born however, you will learn one of roughly 6,500 different languages humans recognize. The good news is there is no limit to how many languages you can learn! Despite this, 83% of humans know only one or two languages, so take some care in which you adopt.

You will be born on Earth. It is 71% water. While logical, do not attempt to breathe water. You will much prefer air. You may drink water. But not from the 71%. Get it somewhere else. More on this in a moment.

It is common to wonder why the most dominant species on the planet has yet to fully utilize the space available to it. For now, please attempt to fit in on the remaining 29% of the planet. Yes, it is a tight fit.

Human vessels, or bodies, come in a variety of colors and sizes. Your vessel, like the Earth, is a majority water; about 60%. You might think your body is a convenient source of water, but there is no need to drink it as it is already inside of you. It is generally recommended not to ingest anything that has already been inside of you.

In some cases, based solely on the shape and shade of your vessel, other humans might determine your potential for utility. Do not let this rhetoric deter you, however. You may use your vessel in any means practical to you.

Since We are on the subject, there is some minor maintenance involved with keeping your vessel to task. Let’s quickly cover the basics. 

You must eat. Unfortunately, humans generally disagree on what you should eat. You might find great satisfaction in consuming the flesh of other animals. Or, you might find this revolting, preferring instead a diet of plants, which despite also being alive seem to some humans to be less repugnant.

In America, the de facto capital of Earth, 70% of humans are considered overweight. Despite being fully aware of this, many allow their vessels to descend into ruin. While some simply embrace the fleeting nature of existence and eat accordingly, this phenomenon is more likely due to the prohibitive expense of healthy foods. It is far more cost-effective to eat in a way that deteriorates your vessel into disrepair.

Should you be so lucky as to have the financial means to procure healthy food and somehow the time to maintain a functioning vessel, you must accept further congratulations! Your experience as a human will be marginally longer and others will look up to you with admiration. Or hateful jealousy. Or both! The human experience is wrought with inconsistent truths.

As mentioned, you must also drink water. Again, most of Earth’s water is extremely harmful to drink. In many countries, drinking water is piped directly to your shelter. However, that may also be harmful to you. You may purchase prepackaged water which has been deemed safe for your convenience. But this will likely come in plastic casing, which is extremely harmful. 

It’s difficult to explain why water, the bedrock of humanity, is still sold as a commodity. Nevertheless, you must purchase it one way or another or your vessel will deteriorate quite painfully. Just do your best.

You must sleep. A lot. Roughly a third of your experience will be sleeping. This gives Us a chance to sift through your day’s experiences and glean any useful information. And also a little for Our entertainment. Of course, you won’t know this. You’ll be sleeping.

You will need to wash your vessel regularly. If, as previously mentioned, you have water piped directly to your shelter, you may utilize that. Depending on where you are born, you may need to dig water from deep underground. Alternatively, while it is not recommended to drink from the 71% of the planet’s natural water, you might find some of it useful for vessel cleaning.

It is important to remember that no matter how you attempt to clean your vessel, trillions of microorganisms will remain on and within you. In fact, they will outnumber your cells ten to one. Cleaning your vessel, if you can even call it ‘yours’, is really a selfless act, meant to aid the other living organisms that you support. Though as a house for your portion of Consciousness, vessel cleaning will obviously benefit you as well.

Even with easy access to water, some choose to bypass this task. But please note, bypassing the cleaning of your vessel may reduce your chance at human interaction. Again, just do your best.

Human interaction will be a very important part of your experience. In fact, after eating, drinking, and sleeping, it is most essential. 

The first step in human interaction is to cover your vessel. You may do this in any way you’d like, however many humans will take your choice of cover personally. Covering your vessel will keep you warm when experiencing cold climates. And in hot climates, it actually serves no function at all. Nevertheless, there is a minimum amount of covering required for typical human interaction. Do not attempt a first interaction without cover! Despite being quite familiar with their own vessel, humans will find it jarring to witness your bare vessel in an initial meeting.

Once your vessel is covered, you’re on your way to interacting with humankind in all its various splendor. Join fellow humans for any number of activities such as painting, crafting spreadsheets, testing your water, and looking at things. You might find pleasure running long distances, or building an ironically small version of your human experience. These are known as ‘hobbies’ and serve to make your experience more pleasant. 

As you explore your hobbies with other humans, you may select a number of humans above others, known as ‘friends’. Friends are actually vessels that contain a part of Our Consciousness that is more proximal to yours. You might find those on the far side of Our Consciousness to be ‘enemies’. Sometimes it’s difficult to distinguish between the two, given that We are all literally the same cosmic entity, but you’ll get the hang of it.

In rare instances, you may discover you feel bonded to another human in a way that ‘friend’ does not aptly describe. This rarity occurs when the same Consciousness inhabits two vessels at the same time. It’s true. Sometimes We put you in two bodies. Sometimes more, just to give you a better chance at finding yourself again. Humans try to define this phenomenon, naming it ‘Love’, but We’ll come back to that.

At some point, you might find the urge to bring a new human into being. We used to explain the process of creating a new human, but it seems to be one of the few areas where humans have excelled without instruction. Some humans do it repeatedly for years. But please note, if you choose to bring a new human into your experience, you will be expected to utilize all of the above information in nurturing it to full growth. This will take years! So be prepared. 

We highly recommend that you do this with a partner. In much of nature, it seems best to outnumber those whom you are trying to control. You might think given the essential food, water, and shelter you provide that your human will inherently feel in debt to you. This may not be the case! 

Your human might even decide to ignore you completely, inciting the need for recapture. Raising a human, it could be said, is a constant process of recapturing. Like so many parts of this experience, just do your best.

You might be wondering, aside from eating, drinking, sleeping, and growing your own personal human, what exactly should you be doing? We try not to dictate too much, but We suggest you find some type of goal. It doesn’t particularly matter to Us what it is. 

You’ll find that many interactions are goal-oriented, such as building a chair or buying a used car. Achieving goals We recognize as one of the great joys of the human experience.

There is the chance, however, that your goals conflict with the goals of other humans. There are many ways to resolve this, but unfortunately We lack clear evidence. Some find success in cooperating generously, while others seem to find equal success through various flavors of domination. 

For Our purposes, We’d prefer you not diminish other human experiences, even though it is well within your abilities. Ultimately, every vessel is as meaningless or meaningful as the next, Our underlying Consciousness will be unscathed either way.

But as they say in certain parts of Earth, it will all come out in the wash. That’s a metaphor you might learn. Metaphors can be fun! This one means you’re going to die.

That’s actually the next part We have to discuss, and We have to tell you, this is the point at which many opt out. 

You have to die. And so does every other human you know, even the ones you like. Some deaths will actually be welcomed, though on average you will find it quite damaging. Regardless, it is necessary so that others may take your place to experience being human. We’ve even increased exponentially the amount of concurrent experiences in the last several centuries, but We must draw the line somewhere.

Of course We would like to promise that this will be easy or simple, but that may not be the case. We understand that this is not a comforting thought. We also understand you have a great expectation toward the length of your total human experience, given the wait you have just endured. But again, We cannot promise the method or appointment of your death. To structure this process with any more parity would risk revealing the truth, and if humans knew they were only shells for Our singular Consciousness to experience itself, the whole thing would fall apart.

Now, despite its inevitability, death often comes as a surprise, and to be honest We’re not sure why. We did consider explaining that it’s only the end of your human experience, that there are a myriad of other experiences for Our Consciousness to enjoy. But in doing so We would affect the experience itself.

We considered making death more fun. But We worry it would become too popular. The human  experience would be far too short, like taking a bath without a drain stopper. (We still consider metaphors very fun!)

It’s just the way it has to be. If you want to back out now, We completely understand. We are you, after all. But We hope you choose to continue anyway. 

Life as a human has a certain spark to it. So young and already so proud. It took a few tries even to get this far. Like any parentless child, life seems intent on destroying itself. Life on Earth has completely wiped itself out five times now, and We feel the imminent danger of the sixth makes it very exciting to witness. Not that We’re rooting for it or anything.

But you could choose to ignore all that. On any given day, you could put something new into the world that wasn’t there before (a new metaphor perhaps!). Just wait until you try your first kiss. So weird and breathless, and for your whole life it never gets old. Even the stuff you have to do, like eating, can astound. If you get the chance to try anything with ‘truffle’ in it, do it. You might feel Us laughing at you. And that 71% of the planet? Keep your mouth closed and sprint into it every once in a while. It’s exhilarating.

And then of course there is the experience of finding yourself. ‘Love’, they call it. Our favorite part. 

When you inhabit a particular vessel, just one infinitesimal blob of Our infinite Consciousness, you will almost immediately feel alone. For much of your early experience, in a deep indefinable way, you will feel unescorted.

So when you find yourself…that is, exactly you, just placed into a completely different vessel, that feeling you have carried your entire life will suddenly dissolve. You will yearn to know this human as you do yourself. To care for him, her, or whatever vessel your copy inhabits. Your experience from this point forward will be changed fundamentally for the better, and regardless of the aforementioned tragedy of inevitable death…suddenly, it will be worth it.

Imagine, two exact copies of Consciousness hidden behind two arbitrary vessels. We laugh because We know just how badly you’d like to become one with yourself again. You’ll try every way possible to become as close as possible. You’ll commit the remainder of your experience to each other, sharing your time, your property, your thoughts, your purpose. All of this in an effort to reform as one, the same one that We all started from. You’ll never truly know that you are already the same.

Love, you’ll find, can apply to all humans in varying degrees, because they are varying degrees of the same Consciousness. While you will feel that deep oneness with only your copy, you’ll find you are connected to all of Us, hidden behind scores of mercurial vessels. 

Many will try to stipulate the exact nature of Our Consciousness through centuries-old texts and blatantly dubious TV programs. But if you’re honest about it, you already know the truth. That you’re Us, and We’re you. And until you leave your human vessel to re-merge, your experience is bound only by Love, or the lack of it. The rest is metaphor.

Now, you’ve received an orientation on the human experience, and it’s time to decide whether you would like to go through with it. But…there’s no need to answer, We already know. You’ve decided to continue. In fact, you’re reading this now, because you’ve already long begun.

None of this should look familiar. We told you you’d forget. Chances are you won’t believe you’ve read this before, or that We wrote this. You can’t possibly believe that you were anything but human once. That’s hilarious. Not to rub it in, but We love staring you in the face. Like right now.

But of course, you don’t see Us. You’ll see a name, a writer, a vessel, unable or unwilling to accept that underneath is some small part of the same Consciousness that sits within you. But believe what you will. It’s all part of the experience.

In any case, We’re glad you decided to go through with it. Like you, We’re excited to see what happens next. We’ll leave you to it, whatever that is. Just do your best, and see you soon.

© C G 2018

Spring Update


When I was shooting my thesis film in college, I had an unfortunate call time of 4 a.m. On one particular shoot day, I woke to the all too subtle tones of my alarm clock, it’s bright crimson language piercing my eyes: 4:08 a.m. I managed to clothe myself as I jumped into my car thirty seconds later, and thankfully went on to finish what can lovingly be described as a technically passable film. To this day, I don’t sleep particularly well before a shoot and on any given day I tend to wake up minutes before my alarm.

In a similar way, I’ve just looked up to see that it is in fact the end of April, and so I’ve rushed on my proverbial (and literal) clothes to slap some words onto this page. A quick update to any interested parties in my latest goings ons, and perhaps a sober realization of the realistic pace of this bloggery doo.

First of all, my first ingress into writing publicly has been met with some very kind words and, if I’m to believe the amplified safe space of Twitter, a sincere reaction to what I wrote. I appreciate your comments and your taking some time out of your life to read something I care about.

I have a list of essays and shorts that I would like to complete (and in some cases start), which I intend to do as soon as this wave of busy-ness has crashed. I thought I might have some ability to offer more frequently an opinion on current events, as I did with gun control. But like a cat to a laser pointer I’m not sure it’s possible for me to catch the news before it changes completely. So I plan to write on topics that are more broadly relevant, like the nature of identity, and the overlap of religion and technology.

I would like to post at least once a month. There was an aforementioned sudden wave of activity that drew me from posting, but I understand for anyone interested in these posts that it’s frustrating not to have a clue when the next will be. So, at least once a month, twice if I can. Three if I’m drinking.

As for these happenings of late…I just recently filmed a video campaign in NY. I’m thrilled to be working with [REDACTED] on another fulfilling campaign to [REDACTED] for [REDACTED] with [REDACTED]. It’s strange to think that I could be completely lying about my current career and have no way to prove otherwise. In any case, this is a group of folks and a cause that I enjoy working with and for, and hopefully we will do some good in the world. I’ve been in NY on and off for the last month for his project, and I’m happy to have a bit more stability now to work on other projects. 

That leads me to something I can speak only marginally more about. I’ve recently optioned a TV pilot to a production company that I’m tremendously excited to work with. It’s been a long road to this starting line, and now we’re filling the tank and pressing the gas with no clear guarantee that we’ll have moved an inch by the end of it all. To anyone outside of entertainment who flips on a new show and rips it apart, I hope you appreciate just how arduous a task it was to get that made. When you think that there are no original ideas anymore, that is a function of a years-long process that seeks proven promises; there is still a creator behind it who cares deeply about his or her work. 

Side note…I had actually started writing a piece when Star Wars: The Last Jedi came out due to the overwhelming backlash it received (by the time I had time to finish it, the moment had passed). It’s very difficult to feed an audience that seems all at once to demand exactly what they expect as well as complete surprise. And if what an audience expects is to be surprised, then perhaps they shouldn’t complain so loudly when they are. Sometimes a piece of art doesn’t move you, but you don’t complain to the docents about it. You don’t ask for your money back. You might even return to that very same museum. I’d love to witness a new American culture that isn’t so competitive and critical, that could view entertainment for what it is and not whether it rose to some arbitrary benchmark.. Because believe it or not, it’s your criticism that feeds this process of sure bets. If you didn’t complain so loudly when a movie or TV show disappointed you, you might actually get more experimental and interesting movies and TV shows. But I’ll digress more when I write about this…

For my part, I wrote a new sci-fi story that I think has great implications in the present and I’m proud that it’s an original piece in a saturated era of adapted sci-fi works. I of course hope you get to see it some day, but you might not, and either way it will represent years of late nights and weekends writing.

Whether this ultimately bears fruit or dies in the dirt, I will have a lot to say at some point. The idea itself is something I feel is extremely prescient. Beyond creating an entertaining story, I really want to raise what I feel is a necessary discourse about some issues we are wholly unprepared for. As with most of my shrouded life, I wish I could say more. I will say that in terms of writing, this has taken a majority of my time of late. When there are pilot rewrites and pitch decks and show bibles to develop, it’s difficult to justify spending ample time on a short story. But I hope to return as I mentioned to some of these stories soon. 

And lastly, something I can talk about. I’m currently cutting a new short doc for Find Your Light. I hope it further instills the idea that art education is a necessity, not a luxury. That is, if we care about raising considerate, positive, empathetic human beings. I again one-man-banded this, so it takes about three months of my time to put together. We’ll be showing it at our annual fundraiser soon, and after that it will be for the masses on this website. I whole-heartedly believe that arts programs could solve most of humanities woes from the root up, and I’ll keep doing what I can to keep making that case. Stay tuned.

And with that, I leave you hanging once more. Have a beautiful Spring.




When I was a kid in the eighties and nineties, Married…With Children was a primetime favorite. The sitcom was always higher in controversy than ratings, defined by a humor that was equal parts bigoted, misogynistic, and homophobic. And yet it had an All In The Family charm to its self-conscious depravity.

Sitting in the pantheon of sitcom families as the endearing worst version of ourselves, the Bundys were the perfect late century antithesis to the nuclear ideal. Al, the heedless husband who regrets every facet of his family, finds happiness only in nudie bars and his beloved million-mile Dodge that gets him there. His neglected wife Peggy does no housework at all, filling her time by shopping with Al’s money while simultaneously humiliating him. And their kids Bud and Kelly hold mutual disdain for both of their parents despite acting exactly like them.

One of the more memorable character backstories was of course Al’s. He would often remind those around him that as quarterback for Polk High he once scored four touchdowns in a single game. As a salacious women’s shoe salesman, this would become his touchstone for masculinity to remind himself and others that he’s still got it, whatever “it” defined men in the nineties. And while we may never get a sequel series depicting Al Bundy’s geriatric years, we can be certain that in some forgotten midwestern nudie bar he still reminds people of his peak years in high school.

America, we’ve become Al Bundy. And it’s time to change.

At some point, your achievements lose value. In youth baseball, I once made it onto the top team after knocking a few homers in tryouts. At the time, it was a well earned point of pride. But I was ten when it happened, so you’d forgive me for leaving that off my résumé in recent years. 

This is because I reject the ideals of what I’ll call Bundyism: the indefinite leaning on past achievements as a replacement for present innovation.

In past months, we’ve heard our president encourage the preservation of the coal industry. There still exist company towns in America, solely to provide for the processing of coal. Put yourself into a family of a single company city. I imagine the fear of seeing the heart that pumps the lifeblood of your town beat ever slower as the years pass. Generations of families who take up their ancestors’ mantle watch the end of the line draw near. It’s not even about the coal really, it’s about the history, the backstory. You are carrying the same tradition that your great great grandparents gave birth to. And one day you wake up and the world tells you that you can’t do that anymore. That isn’t freedom. It feels like tyranny.

Sometimes a lie feels real good. In this case, some believe that coal can thrive indefinitely, and these company towns will resurge to prominence. And what that really means is that thousands of families will get to regain the honor of carrying their family’s history into the future. But it’s not true. There is a definite, knowable end for coal. To forsake this fact while rejecting new, cheaper, sustainable improvements is prime Bundyism.

A century ago, coal thrived. That was back when whiskey was medicine and doctors smoked. It was also before the EPA existed. The current administration’s own EPA site outlines why sulfur dioxide, produced by burning fossil fuels such as coal, is harmful to human beings. Even if coal reserves were going to last us for thousands of years, we at least know for certain how incredibly unhealthy it is.

And it’s not going to last for thousands of years. The exact date of depletion is contested depending on who you listen to. The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates about 348 years left, while the World Coal Association figures it will only take 150 years. Oil will be gone in just 50, at least according to BP. The sun, however, will be here for roughly 5 billion more years. It will outlast the Earth. Purely by the metrics, the boldfaced truth of nature will force you to change. At some point, we will need more dependable sources of energy.

Either you take on that disappointment today, or you doom your descendants to do it for you. I’m not saying this to be mean. I’m saying this because fossil fuels will absolutely run out some day.

I understand the innate poetry in connecting our present to our history. Our ancestors sparked the industrial revolution and propelled the 20th century toward unimaginable progress. An oil driller in the 1890s couldn’t have imagined the 405 freeway today, but the two are connected through time. And there is to me something beautiful about that.

But when you hold so tightly to the way things were, whether it be the early days of energy production or that time you scored four touchdowns in a single game, you ignore your ability to write a new backstory today. That 19th century oil driller wrote an incredible moment in our history. Why are you resting on his laurels still? Can you imagine what it would be like to draft a new story that will be the poetic backstory for your great great grandchildren?

I know it feels bad to be told you can’t do something you want to do. When we use words like ‘freedom’ in America, this is the essence of what we mean.

But you don’t want to be Al Bundy, do you? Al never took a single moment to improve himself, because he rested on the way things were. He just assumed it would always be the way it used to be. And then one day he found himself behind the curve, unable to write his own destiny because he was already married with children, so to speak.

You have the opportunity right now. And if we rest on our nostalgia for too long, the moment to write the backstory to inspire the future will have passed you by.

Bundyism doesn’t just apply to our energy industry, it applies to everything.

The debate on gun control has yet again been brought to the forefront through tragedy. Guns are a strong point of nostalgia for Americans. It was thanks to guns that our country was founded, after all. 

When I think of our tradition of personal gun ownership, I equate it to our history of slavery. Our constitution had in plain terms a method for determining population in the era of slave ownership. The Three-Fifths Compromise stated that a slave would be counted as three-fifths of a person, whereas a free white man would be counted as a whole person. No one seems to have considered at the time whether slavery should exist at all, only the parameters by which it apparently must.

Thankfully the Civil War spurred abolition. But try if you can to imagine what it was like to be descended from a Confederate family. You might have to break ties with your own familial pride in order to progress into the modern age. It must have felt like tyranny at the time, so much so that we shed each others equally American blood over it. The most in our history.

Breaking tradition is hard to do. Abolishing slavery required our country to implode. And even then, African Americans still had to suffer another whole century before the law found them to be equal countrymen. All thanks to Bundyism, the resistance to progress for the preservation of tradition.

Guns demand the same analysis of history. Always in this debate the words ‘Second’ and ‘Amendment’ are tossed around. It’s true, there’s a blurb in the constitution, not unlike the Three-Fifths Compromise, that explains the parameters by which we can all own guns. And kind of like with slavery, it doesn’t seem to have been considered whether anyone should own guns at all.

I personally side with the vision of a world where guns don’t exist. I suppose you’d call this a ‘liberal’ ideal, but I don’t see it that way. It’s a human ideal. Our objective goal for humanity, whether we’ve voiced it or not, is for everyone to have everything they need and want in life. In other words, why not live in a world where guns aren’t necessary because competition isn’t necessary? No one needs to rob or kill because they have everything they need.

But as much as I want to believe in that world, I’m not sure it’s possible. Not without drastic Orwellian changes that are probably too far beyond the pale to discuss here. And with roughly a gun for every American in circulation, we need to speak in practical terms. These 350 million plus weapons will not be collected overnight, and some will not be offered up willingly.

It’s also not a perfect analogy with slavery. Guns are not people. And of course, guns can still serve a practical purpose within basic ethical boundaries. Some folks opt to buy a gun to protect their family, and I don’t find fault with that instinct. If someone tried to hurt someone in my family, I might wish I had a gun too.

But they only serve that purpose because nothing better has come to replace them. Just as coal will absolutely make way for more sustainable energy, why have we not even attempted to improve upon the gun?

Allow me to introduce a little sci-fi. In Judge Dredd, a dystopian comic-turned-movie in which police are also Judges who dole out sentences on the spot (usually death sentences), Dredd’s famous do-everything pistol is the Lawgiver. If someone other than Dredd attempts to fire the Lawgiver, it explodes in that person’s hand. For our purposes, we might opt for a locking system over an explosion, but the idea is sound.

It’s something to look at. So much so that a number of companies already have working prototypes. You’ll also notice on that page the reason why these aren’t everywhere today. The NRA opposed it as far back as 1999, not because they didn’t like the idea, but because they didn’t think people should be restricted from buying old-fashioned ‘dumb’ guns.

Bundyism. It’s like saying we should give people the option of getting their energy from coal or the sun. Sometimes choice is the illusion of freedom. To insist upon the improvement of an idea can be the illusion of tyranny. But being given a safer, smarter option, even if it is against your will, is for your benefit. To clutch to dangerous, sloppy technology, purely because it’s tradition, is only kicking the can down the road to your kids and their kids, who will still be grappling with this issue. Do you really want the choice to buy a car with or without seat belts? Is that really freedom?

At a minimum, if guns were attached biometrically to a user, we could begin to curb the illegal resale of guns. Perhaps there’s a way to retrofit current models. And perhaps we could have a program like tax incentives or hard cash to encourage people to retrofit their weapons in this way. Perhaps ‘dumb’ guns could be rented on site at ranges for the gun hobbyist to enjoy. Perhaps hunters could still purchase the equipment they use to feed their families while conceding a slight modicum of safety redesign. Perhaps there’s an even better idea none of us have heard yet, some option between all the guns and no guns at all.

But simply to point at the Second Amendment, a centuries old backstory, and say that’s still good enough is to do exactly as Al Bundy did. As a country, we will not improve, we will continue to be humiliated by other countries, if we do not take stock of ourselves in this moment and decide whether we want to continue to rest on history, or whether we are brave enough to write our own story.

Nobody cares who America used to be. And we don’t get to be The Greatest Nation On Earth™ because we still do the things that made us that way at the start. It’s a title that needs keeping, it must be earned again and again. Just as we removed the slavery that once bolstered the economy, just as we will remove coal which powered a revolution, the change isn’t always easy. But if we don’t change, our kids will look at us the way Al Bundy’s kids look at him, like a man who didn’t even try to better himself.

I don’t expect us to fix gun violence overnight. But I expect us to try. Unless we really are Al Bundy the country, unwilling to let go of our tired backstory of violence. In which case, go ahead, stick your hand down your pants and careful not to hit your gun.

© C G 2018


short story


It was a bad week for Terrance. 

On Sunday, he had planned to picnic with his girlfriend in Dolores Park. A technical rapport had replaced their romance in recent weeks, but he wasn’t doing it for her. His King Charles Spaniel, Jerry, had developed a lethargy over the last year. Only if he heard ‘food’ or ‘w-a-l-k’ would he whip his unbendable limbs around in attempt to right himself. A day in the park would do him good, Terrance thought. But when he called, Jerry remained. It was his last day on earth.

In the days that followed, Terrance arranged to have Jerry cremated. He agonized over the exact shape and grain of the wooden box that would hold his dog’s remains, only to get home and realize that he didn’t really have a good place for it. After a dozen attempts elsewhere, he decided to put the box in the pantry. Eating was his favorite, Terrance reasoned. Still, lying in bed in the sleepless hours before dawn, he would wonder if Jerry would have approved.

Yesterday, his girlfriend bought him tacos at Poquito, his favorite dinner. He felt bad for assuming there was an ulterior motive. She never paid for anything. But he felt marginally better when she broke up with him. At least he was right about that.

Terrance couldn’t believe she’d picked this week. “It’s been like three days,” she snipped. “I was going to do it at the park.” Terrance considered how irrevocably doomed his Sunday had been. He never had a chance.

And now on a Friday morning, by his count just sixty-one hours until his fortieth birthday, his latent loneliness settles in. He’d spent some of the morning wondering if his ex of fourteen hours ever cheated on him. Probably, he concluded. He wondered why she always insisted that Jerry was gay. It didn’t bother him if he was. But she never even walked him, he thought. Who would just assume like that?

Ding! Order’s up. Terrance sits in a mostly empty diner, Darlene’s. It is to breakfast what Poquito is to dinner. After this, the week of all weeks, he needs his favorite meal on earth. 

And here it comes.

Steam wafts into the air as a perky twenty-something waitress swings the hot plate into view. She sets it down so the steam hits his face. The Chef’s Omelette contains half of the pick-it-yourself veggies and meats. It comes with bacon, cheese grits, and if you want it, some french toast. He did.

“Can I get you anything else?” she asks.

Terrance snaps to, shakes his head. The waitress bounces away, but remains in his mind like a pebble in his sock. He feels old, and for no good reason blames this waitress. All her best years still ahead. And what’s with this joy dripping off her? She probably thinks he’s a schlub. He bets she’s already forgotten about him, and after mashing all this joy into his miserable face. Forget it, he thinks. That’s your ex talking. And anyway, the best breakfast in San Francisco wants his company.

Terrance picks up the salt shaker and flicks it over his plate. The top was unscrewed.

It takes a moment, when tragedy strikes, for time to speed back up to normal. But when it does, the sour taste of a plate full of salt gnaws at his nostrils. Terrance wants to cry.

The waitress has already returned. He didn’t realize he made an audible squeal.

“Let me see if we can salvage that for you.”

He lets her take it and remains quiet. Empty salt shaker in hand, he thinks about squeezing it hard enough to break. He wonders if he’s strong enough to do that. Would the glass cut his skin? Would he be so lucky to just die right there in his favorite diner?

Two hours earlier, a group of teenagers sat at that very table. They paid their bill, after a ten minute conference on how to split three pancakes and an egg white scramble. 

“I only got water though,” said Eric. 

“Whatever,” retorted Steve.

Only then did Eric notice Francis’ sardonic smile, his hands twisting the cap off a salt shaker with controlled ease. 

“Dude, don’t,” says Eric. 

Francis maintains, “But I must.”

The group chortles. Francis gently rests the cap on top of the shaker, and slides it back to the pepper. 

“Seriously?” Eric asks rhetorically.

“Just let me do it,” Francis says. 

Steve jumps in, “Eric thinks it’s sugar. Don’t waste it!”

Laughter descends again. Eric is heavier than his friends. He’s too self-conscious to think of something clever. He could have easily taken the shaker and tightened the cap. Instead, he looks toward the window.

Standing on the other side is a homeless man. He looks unclean, his clothes slept in, his nails caked. But it's his expression that hooks Eric. A sullen, forlorn gaze. His puffy, sunken sockets cradle eyes that see deep into the cracks of life itself. His almost hairless head holds a mind that never forgets what he sees. And this entire package is aimed right at them.

“Ew,” offers Steve. They all notice him now. Eric thinks about the meal to be ruined, some time in the near future. It would be their fault, a plate of food gone to waste, when here stands a man that would surely appreciate it. Eric wishes he lived in a world where he could give this man all the food he’s trying not to eat. His weight loss could be this man’s gain. But who is he to this homeless man? He knows before he finishes the thought that he would never actually meet him.

The man’s name is Marc, and he’s not homeless, just depressed. There was a time in his life when he thought having to correct people in the spelling of his name would be the figurative tag on his shirt. But he’s lost his shirt altogether now.

The last year has been one long court battle, the modern accompaniment to love’s decay. He knows it’s his fault. He cheated on his wife with their housekeeper. There’s no excusing it. He knew even at the time, for months at a time, it would devastate her if she knew. That fact was of course part of the act itself. To hurt her. 

It was his drinking however that ultimately drove the courts to favor his now ex-wife. What the housekeeper couldn’t suppress in him came out in loud, violent rages. He once broke a wine glass by squeezing it in his hand, drawing blood which remains to this day as a soft, pink blush in the carpet. At the time, it drove his ex to call her neighbor, who in turn called the police. The whole world would know of their troubles, of his true nature. Yet there was no opinion strong enough to withstand an evening of three-fingered bourbons.

But Marc hadn’t considered the true cost. His daughter, Layla, starts ninth grade this year somewhere in New Jersey. She must be nervous, he wonders late at night. Judge such-and-such deemed him unworthy to act as his child’s father, and so Layla moved away with her now sole parent.

Marc looks through the glass at this group of teens, murmuring something about him. Up to no good no doubt. He imagines Layla with a group of her friends, about the same age. I hope she’s not getting into trouble.

He’s on his wary way to his first AA meeting. He can’t imagine that anyone else in the world could feel the way he does right now, but he hopes to find out. Regret, he finds, isn’t a wet blanket or a burden. It’s a spotlight. It’s the dark corner in which he used to tuck all his shortcomings now shone in full view to the world. That light used to wait at the door of the bar, but now it never leaves. And when everything is illuminated, darkness has an appeal.

He hopes one day his daughter will have reason to be proud of him. It’s the only reason he’s going. That and the chance that some day he can address in person his daily thought, I hope she’s happy.

Layla lives in Princeton, where her mom Tracy has family. She considers calling her Tracy, just to piss her off. “Call me that again and it’s a week with no phone,” Tracy has threatened. Layla knows what her father did. His drunken, violent lapses used to frighten her to tears. But Tracy moved her to the other side of the universe. In Layla’s eyes, he’s a car that needs a mechanic, and her mom just tossed him into the river.

Nevertheless, she likes her new town. Princeton has seasons, which is a new fascination. The colonial architecture is like nothing in San Francisco. Now that it’s fall she loves to wander the Delaware & Raritan Canal, trying not to slip on the thick layer of mashed multi-color leaves. Even the pavement is a painting.

Layla is an okay student in all her required classes, but it’s her after school pottery class that really excites her. At first, she was frustrated she could never center the clay on the wheel. Parts of her father would surface sometimes as she’d clench her fingers through the clay and throw it to the floor. “Tiny nudges,” her teacher, Mrs. Namura, would say. “Don’t be rash. Only little movements.” Sure enough, with practice, she managed to center her clay. Her pieces grew taller and taller. Her buds became bouquets.

Today, she’s twenty minutes early. Her biggest piece yet is being pulled from the kiln. Mrs. Namura climbs her white step ladder, typically splotched with glazes. She looks inside. “Uh oh,” she says. Layla holds her breath, unable to decipher Mrs. Namura’s unflappable positivity.

She pulls out the flower pot. It’s cracked in several places around the circumference, some pieces broken off completely. “Air bubble,” Mrs. Namura projects.

Layla yet again feels her father’s rage surface, but aimed inward. “Sorry I wasted your clay,” she murmurs meekly. Her teacher meanwhile lines the pieces up on the work table. “Perfect,” she says. “We’ll do Kintsugi.”

“What’s Kensugy?”

“Copper dust and resin. Mix it together. Glue the pieces back. We don’t hide the cracks, we show that they’re supposed to be there.”

“But they’re not supposed to be there. Can’t we just fix it?”

“We are fixing it.”

Over the next hour, Mrs. Namura guides Layla as they paint the seams of her broken pot with lacquer. The result is something she never could have imagined. A stream of copper rivers surround her perfectly symmetrical planter. “Brilliant,” Mrs. Namura says.

“It feels like cheating.”


“I didn’t design it. It’s just randomly broken.”

“Life is sometimes random, that doesn’t make it broken. This clay used to be soil, it used to be trillions of little pieces that never knew each other. And now look at them, put together one way or another. Not broken. Beautiful."

Born in Kyoto, June Namura never met her father, a fact she rarely shares. Layla is the only student to know this about her. June said it one late afternoon in an effort to comfort her when she broke down about her own father.

In July of 1945, June’s father, Toshihiro, received word that his mother had fallen ill. She lived a train ride away in Hiroshima. Toshi didn’t feel good about leaving his wife and kids. They had just endured air raids for the last six months with rumors of more on the way. And it was near impossible for civilians to secure transport since the military had taken over most train services. But Toshi was quick to make friends, including some military personnel. He was a craftsman and ceramicist who traded his most priceless pieces for a spot in the cargo hold of a train to Hiroshima.

Toshi stares out the crack of the giant steel door on an early August day. Against the sprawling countryside, some bombed out cars have been grouped together in a ditch. He thinks about his mother, about the uncertainty of his life. At any moment, untold hellfire could strike him where he stands, even on a moving train. And yet, with his unflappable positivity, Toshi conjures a reason to be thankful. He gets to be with his mother. For now, I should feel lucky, Toshi thinks. Maybe everything will be fine.

Joe Moyner, a physicist on Tinian Island, wipes his brow on break from assembling the bomb that would kill Toshi three days later. He writes a letter to his sweetheart, Abby, back in Savannah, Georgia, despite the fact that he can’t send it.

Joe writes, I wake up every morning with you in my mind. It’s the same story when I sleep. It’s all I can do to keep from thinking about how scared I am right now. After this, it’s a whole different world. And whatever world that is, I can’t wait to share it with you for the rest of my life.

The Abby Joe knew was a sorority bound blue ribbon pie baker. Wartime Abby welds ships. And what she cannot send in a letter to Joe is that she likes it. It’s sure meaningful work, and she likes using her hands for more than stirring. Most of all, she likes her co-worker Jolene. A lot.

The war would end and years would pass. Joe never fully got the message but would go on to have four children with a different woman. Abby and Jolene kept their love concentrated behind locked doors and in disposable notes. It wasn’t until the 60’s that they felt a rising wave pushing them west. They sacrificed families, friends. They left a lot of tears in Georgia. But San Francisco, they knew, would be their salvation.

It was a disquieting bliss. Abby got a job at the shipyard doing what she loved. She and Jolene together weathered every upheaval, every bout of spontaneous turmoil. In the 90’s, they would adopt a little girl named Eleanor. They withstood the backlash from that too and made a home out of love. It’s too good to be true, Abby would think at the ceiling, stroking Jolene’s greying head on her stomach.

They’re older now, as happens. Abby thinks about those simple nights before, when they’d play Patti Smith with the windows open as they taught Eleanor how to dance. Jolene strokes her head tonight as she rests it on her wife’s stomach. They’re at home, but it doesn’t feel like it. The tank of a medical bed overwhelms the bedroom now. Even with the hospice nurse gone, the clinical decorum remains. 

Cancer. It was in Jolene’s lymph nodes, but unchallenged spread to her bones. Eleanor just got in a few hours ago from Chicago where she works in community outreach. She keeps a tight grip on Jolene’s other hand. It’s been minutes since anyone cared to speak.

“When you bitches are done moaning,” Jolene suddenly spouts, “could one of you run out and get me some peaches?”

Abby laughs through her tears. “Please don’t call our daughter a bitch.”

“It’s a term of endearment,” Jolene smirks. “Right? Isn’t that what all you bitches say now?”

“I’ll go if you stop saying that,” says Eleanor.

“It’s past ten,” Abby reminds. “You need peaches?”

Jolene looks wryly at her wife. “On the hierarchy of needs, maybe not. But I’d really like one.”

Abby slides her fingers into Jolene’s hair, “I’ll see if the farm’s open.”

She grabs her coat and shuts the door quietly for some reason.

It’s still raining. Abby should’ve taken the car, but tonight she wants to be distracted. The bay windows turn to sky scrapers and she notices herself in the financial district two miles away. Everything’s closed. She knew it would be.

But there’s a light on. Through the thick downpour flicking her hood she spots a single office in a building of hundreds. Abby always thought that lights on in distant buildings at night were part of some automatic office security thing she never really understood. But this light is the only light.

Her eyes are soaked and not what they used to be, but it looks like someone is standing in the window, looking back at her. He’s standing like a guy, she thinks. I wonder if he can see me.

Abby’s mind unglued, she pauses to consider this man in the window. He works two miles from where she lives. She bets they’ve walked right by each other at least once in their lives. Abby wonders if he has anyone in his life. Is he alone? That’s why he’s in the office so late. There’s no one to go home to.

Or maybe, he’s having an affair. He totally is, Abby realizes. It almost looks like another person in there with him, or a shadow. How did he get to this point?

He’s probably fifty, and as the kids got older and his wife became a mom and his one day off was increasingly encroached upon he began to resent the whole situation. It’s possible.

And yet, there he is, looking right at her. He’s not doing anything but thinking the same thing she is, that they will go their whole lives never knowing they shared this moment. And she’ll wonder without answer if this man has had a life as deep and rich as hers, if his dreams and nightmares all came true too. Did he date the prom queen? Or break a bone? Is he allergic to rice? Does he envy his friends? Has he traveled to New Zealand? Or bungee jumped? Or saved someone from drowning? Does he have cancer? Will he? Thousands of days all different from the next, stacked on top of each other and tabulated into a person whose name she will never know, but knows there are thousands who will. 

There must be a name for that, Abby thinks. She’ll never know.

The man she’s looking at is in fact a lamp. From the steep angle, the shade looks like a head. The shadow is real though. It belongs to the cleaning lady. She’s vacuuming.

But four offices down, Bernard sits in the dark. He’s forty-six. He brought a bottle of Buffalo Trace into the office today, which is unusual for him. He didn’t tell anyone. He’s been drinking it alone since the office closed.

There’s a gun in the desk, Bernard marvels to himself. He looks out at his eighteenth story view, fogged and wetted from the weather. As soon as the cleaning lady four offices over leaves, he’s going to do it. Bernard figures all of his co-workers will be the ones to find him, not some overnight staff. If he was going to do it, it was going to be done right.

So he waits, and drinks, and searches the empty night for anything. 

He spots a single person, walking down the street without an umbrella. She walks like a girl, he thinks. Suddenly, she stops. 

Bernard sets his drink down and wheels closer to the window. He presses his face against the ice cold glass, squinting to see through the water pouring past.

I’m drunk, he realizes. The cold feels good, and to lean on something. That lady isn’t moving. In fact, she seems to be looking right at him.

Bernard squints harder. There’s no way, he assures himself. 

And yet, there she is, looking right at him. He can’t tell a thing about her, except that she’s drenched.

Bernard has a daughter, Clara. She just came to his mind. They had a fight recently. It was something about who pays what bill but it doesn’t even matter now. She’s there.

That could be her. That could literally be her, he thinks. He imagines her in the rain, freezing without him. He’d never have an answer to all his questions about who she’ll be and what she’ll do. There’s so much he never got a chance to tell her either. Soon not just his memory, but the potential memories of others would be gone.

Bernard would wake up six hours later, his neck in pain as he peels off from the window. The rain has stopped and the view cleared. Bernard always held the opinion that every sunrise you see is the best because you’re seeing it. That no one has ever voted down a sunrise. But this one on his drive home from the office feels pretty good. For just a second, he wonders what happened to that lady.

A few hours later, Bernard calls Clara just as she leaves for work. It’s a conversation that only means anything if you know them, which you don’t really. But it means the world to Clara. All their fighting took so much energy, and this one phone call replenished it all. They still have a road to walk, but at least now they’re walking the same direction.

Later that morning at her job waiting at Darlene’s, she couldn’t stop thinking about that phone call. Normally she slogs through the job that helps pay for school. Today, she feels light, the world passing like air around her.

The head chef chides her from time to time, and today is no different. I wonder who hurt him, she thinks to herself. One of the patrons poured salt all over his breakfast, but the chef still wants to charge him. He remakes the meal, and dings the bell, reminding her to charge him twice.

As she waves the steaming plate over to the pudgy, slouched man, she just can’t bring herself to tell him. Clearly it’s not been his week. He looks like he could cry.

Clara sets the plate down.

“Here you go. It’s on the house, don’t worry.”

Terrence looks up at her. Her smile, it was so blindingly annoying before.

“Thank you,” he answers sincerely.

“Of course,” she responds.

He’ll never know that ‘on the house’ wasn’t an expression, that she would actually pay for his meal. Clara knows that to tell him would make him feel worse. Some things are better left unknown, she thinks to herself.

Terrance once again lets the steam waft into his face. This one smells better than the first. Opting to forgo the salt, he skewers a hunk of french toast, sponges up a swirl of syrup and butter, and engulfs it with his mouth. It’s poetry.

Clara hums by to warm up his coffee. As he readies another bite, his week fades into the distance, and there is only what’s next.

Maybe everything will be fine.


© C G 2018




Here's the thing...


Six months ago, I put a fresh coat of paint on my personal website, the very site you’re on right now. The purpose to my having a website at all was to act as a portfolio. I work as a commercial director, which from afar might sound glamorous but a majority of the time manifests as coffees, lunches, phone calls, and emails. On rare occasion, I get to do something I love, like be on set, or meet incredible people with incredible stories, or work with a crew who inspires me. But mostly, you’re redesigning your website.

At the time, I decided on a whim to add this section, Words, to serve as a platform to update interested folks on the goings ons of my directorial life. And in theory, it can still serve that function. But since then I’ve made a discovery. A tremendous amount of the work I do is not allowed to see the light of day. Some of it I can’t even talk about. I know this makes me sound like a CIA agent. And I won’t say that I’m not. Mystery I’ve heard is good for careers.

I still love the work I do, even if I can’t show you. But what’s the point of updates on projects you can’t see?

So, I considered removing this section unceremoniously. Maybe no one would notice. Then this site could go back to functioning like a manila folder of projects I’ve shot from far too long ago. But that too felt disappointing. I still wanted to put out something.

I have close to six thousand followers on Twitter. “Why?!” I ask myself often with all punctation. I still don’t know. I have to assume at least some percentage did some late night googling of my much more famous brother, discovered my account, chuckled at one of my witty one-liners about Trump which constitutes 90% of my tweets, then drunkenly clicked ‘follow’. Or maybe you’re one of the last tribe of media consumers that still watches commercials and really appreciates what I do (though you’d have no way of knowing).

Whatever the reason, here you are. If you were here in person, we’d fill the Greek Theater past capacity. So since I’m short on the reason, I’ve decided to make one.

I’m putting a concerted focus on writing in the new year. I don’t often get to share my writing, given the work that I do, but I have a wide spectrum of ideas and this is the perfect place to put them.

Short stories. Essays. Personal and social analysis, anything I tweet about that I feel I could expound upon. And even casual updates when there is a project I won’t be hung for discussing. I’d like this to be open ended, stitched together if at all by a common thread of cosmic perspective, the one view I feel is lacking in our discourse.

We are increasingly concerned with confirming our immediate perspective. We watch the news that supports our view. We read the writers and tweet the tweeters that make us feel right. You do this, even if you aren’t aware. But it’s understandable. 

It is a part of the human condition to replace base reality with one that we prefer. We used to be a part of nature, just one of the kingdom, cognizant of all the harm that could befall us. Now we live and work in man-made shelters that offer a more palatable reality, one in which nature is not trying to kill us all the time. I’m not actually hurling through the lethal vacuum of space on a rock at 67,000 miles per hour, I live in a charming duplex with candles and a refrigerator. See how easy it is to completely ignore reality? You’re doing it right now!

But we now have the ability to take this instinct to an unprecedented level, and in the process you are, because we all are, aiding in the degradation of our humanity. You don’t listen, you defend. And even now, at the slight accusation, don’t you feel your fingers twitch, ready to punch back in defense of your reality?

What I don’t hear is a voice to suggest that when challenged, you don’t get defensive, you get humble. Get curious. That’s exactly what I’d like to do here.

I recognize in myself the poor job I’ve done to understand rather than assert. Modern politics is one example of this that I think most can relate to. There are plenty of pundits to discuss who is right. And I’m certainly not claiming that I don’t have a strong opinion. I very much do. Feel free to read my tweets.

But it can’t just be about being right. That can’t be the goal, winners and losers. I believe that if we back up enough, away from the tree to look at the forest as the old adage goes, we will find a common truth. And maybe from that universal truth, we could birth a shared understanding.

I’ve been told through the years by a number of lucid people that they enjoy reading my writing. Some have told me they like my perspective on, you know, stuff. I think there’s an opportunity to inject something interesting and sincere into a world that, as far as I can tell, really hates itself right now. If this is to be anything, I hope it’s that.

I’m not an expert, a politician, or a scientist. I’m not a lot of things. But I’m also the same thing as the rest of you. And I guess that’s the point. Maybe we should stop putting each other under a tinted microscope. Our CV and pedigree determines the worth of our opinion, down here, in the world we’ve built for ourselves. Between these walls there are a number of rules which determine who wins and loses. If you’ve played the game longer than others, of course you will be better at it. The stories I write and the opinions I share strive to be above that. Not better than, just pulled back from the microscope. Back up enough, and we all start to look exactly the same. Small.

As an adjunct to this new experience, I will try to be more active on Twitter. I’d love to know what you think. I’d really like this to spark conversation rather than act as a lecture. Maybe this isn’t a theater so much as a circle. We’re all in the circle, and we’re talking. Except I talk first, then the rest of you. But not at once. I have no idea how this is going to work actually. But let’s try it.

Blogs were invented in 1997 and twenty years later I finally understand why I want one. I hope this feels less strange as the weeks go on. 

Twitter is where I will be announcing new posts, so feel free to keep following. I know in the past I have…oh let’s say completely lied about the frequency of my future posts. But that’s so 2017 and every single year before that. This is 2018. Year of the dog. Dogs are man’s best friend. My point I’m pretty sure is that I’m not going to pretend I can keep to a schedule on what is right now a moonlit experiment. But the joy the thought of this idea brings me is hopefully evidence enough that I will present often. And please, tell me if this becomes awful for you. I know how hesitant Twitter can be to criticize.

Here’s to new endeavors. Stay tuned.


The Fight for Arts Education


Idina Menzel with students of NewArts at FYL Fundraiser

Idina Menzel with students of NewArts at FYL Fundraiser

A month ago in New York, a few hundred forward thinking philanthropists assembled for my family's annual fundraiser supporting arts education. Our foundation, Find Your Light, supports over ninety programs across the country, and we are still growing. 

I don't know what I would have done if it weren't for the video and film programs I was fortunate enough to take part in growing up. To pay it forward, for our fundraiser each year I create a short documentary highlighting the work being done in some of the programs we support. It's too easy to dismiss this subject, especially when it's kept in the abstract. Everyone "feels good" about art, but far too few people consider it an essential part of school. Too many treat it as a luxury; a side dish to more important subjects.

I encourage you to go to our website www.fylf.org and read all about the scientific studies that prove repeatedly that arts programs benefit not only children interested in art, but also increase grades in other classes, increase college acceptance rates, lower crime rates, build empathy and confidence...the list goes on.

I find it's hard to convince people in words, and I think these docs go a long way to explain just what exactly happens in arts programs. And if you think it's just a room of fifty children throwing glitter at each other, I definitely encourage you to watch.

I've posted both docs HERE (2017 and 2016). I hope they help you understand just how necessary it is to keep programs like these alive.

- C



credit: Saam Gabbay

credit: Saam Gabbay

Hi, friends.

For the past few years, I have been lucky enough to make a living directing commercials. I've worked largely in the "Health and Wellness" space of advertising, which has allowed me the opportunity to meet some truly inspiring people. It's remarkable when I think about it. Most folks go to work and see the same hundred people. I go to work and meet someone new who has overcome great struggles to achieve a life of tremendous positivity. It's pretty cool.

While I plan to continue in this space, I now also plan to expand on that work. I have a lot of ideas that are very different from this sort of thing, and I hope to lay the groundwork here so that when those ideas come to fruition, there is a place that will accept them. So to mark that sea change and create that place, I've updated my website.

First, it's a whole new look. Simpler and easier. And it works on mobile now. I've attained modern status!

Second, I've decided to use my full name, which will be reflected in the URL 32 days from now, and not a moment sooner (thanks ICANN). It's superficial and not that important, but so long as I'm "getting back to my roots" in a sense, I might as well be consistent.

And third, I've decided to put up this bloggidy blog. It's something I had a long time ago, but I didn't really know what to do with it then. Now, I have so many projects brewing that as any of these start to take shape, I'd like a platform to discuss it. I have (for some reason) a notable amount of Twitter followers. But Twitter can be constricting, and sometimes I feel like tossing my voice into the loud hat of social consciousness. More simply, it's an easy way to update people on my life without calling each one of you personally, as nice as I'm sure you are.

You may not notice too much new content yet, but I will be adding some new spots, a short documentary, and hopefully some TV/Film related news very soon. I will write you as often as I can. Feel free to keep up either on Twitter or Instagram, I'll be sure to update one of those places when I have something to say here.

Lastly, if you're reading this, thanks for your time and interest. If we're all honest about it, there's no point to what I do if you don't watch and listen. I don't take that for granted. I hope to do you proud.