White Girl Problems


To wake up in New York City is a glorious thing especially on a glorious day like today with the sun sparkling on the Hudson and so much possiblity. This has long felt like my home even when I wasn’t living here and every time I come here I’m delighted to be home– even more so since having actually lived here before going home to Alabama to help my parents. Adam and I had chosen NYC as the location for his residency because of me. I had agreed to go to Salt Lake for those years of his masters degree and med school. That city was for him; the next chosen would be based on my career goals and New York was my hands-down choice. That was part of what made it a real sore spot for me when he was able to be here and I wasn’t. I even tried moving back here last Winter but everywhere was a closed door. I realize now that there were Higher Forces at work in that. I thought Mom would be on Earth for years to come; God knew better. I don’t, of course, regret being able to be there for my parents (and therefore there for Chad too) one single bit. All of it, in fact, to include the debacle of my “marriage” to Adam has been part of a harmoniously unfolding plan, even when the appearance has been absolute chaos.

The purpose of this month-long sojourn is to have it revealed to me what the next right step for me is. The trip has been structured [with seeing theatre in New York and visiting friends here, going on the Vision Quest in Vermont, Going to San Francisco and talking with some people doing some exciting work around Post Traumatic Stress recovery, going to Burning Man, and heading out to Palm Springs to a convention for sober gay men, maybe back through LA to look at some apartments Eric Estenzo (the man who saved my life in Iraq) has been looking at for us) and then on back home to Alabama] to give me all the “data” I need to take the next step. I also fully hope for (and expect) some direct Guidance while I’m in the woods of Vermont on a blanket in prayer and fasting for two days and nights with no food or water. [I could stay up to four days but since this is my second year of Hambleycha (Vision Quest), I’m only compelled to stay out two and the man who counsels me on my Path in the Way of the Lakota told me yesterday that I would be stupid to stay more than the two. His words to me, which I’ve heard from him more that once, are, “You always want to run before you walk.” He’s right.]

I’m only a couple of days into this trip so I’m purposefully not allowing myself to come to any grand conclusions. One of my dearest friends, Myra Bullington, (we met when she was a costumer and I a student at The University of Alabama) said yesterday that she felt like NYC was my “jam” followed by New Orleans as a close second. The jazz musical I’ve written (libretto and book, not score) is set in New Orleans and I know that I could go there to find the composer(s) and workshop it there. It seems like since the idea was birthed there (when I was there handing out food in the wake of Katrina), it should have its actual start there. Of course there’s nothing that says I can’t live in New York and go to New Orleans for that project. But renting in New York is expensive and why would I do that at all if I weren’t going to be here, if I were going to be in New Orleans building a musical? In fact, why rent anywhere if I’m going to be flitting around the world working on various projects? I have a home that’s paid for in Alabama. Why not just find a temporary place in whatever city my current project takes me to? I’ve also got the RV. That solves the pet problem which always a point of contention for wherever I’m seeking to hang my hat (and their leashes) for a few months.

I’ve had many conversations with the Executive Director of the National Veterans Museum in Chicago about the possibility of workshopping or “opening out of town” Lilac and Liquor there. That’s another in the long list of next options.

Again, why would I rent anywhere if I’m going to be all over the place so much? Chad (my brother) and I own the house in Alabama, I own my vehicles, I have a nice, quiet place there to write and develop projects– but I also don’t want to get “stuck” down there. Alabama has for me, like a lot of hometowns do for queer artists who “break free,” a gravitational pull that is phenomenal. With the couple of jobs I have now (which I could do from my computer), I could live in Alabama for the rest of my life. In fact, if I was willing to live frugally (as if) I could retire there now. I’m not ready to retire. I don’t think I’ll ever want to retire. I love what I do too much. I don’t even think retirement is good for us; it’s a relatively young concept you know. How many people do you know who, having stopped doing what their “purpose in life” was, began almost immediately to die?

I am in a constant state of surrender to the loving force that created me and feeling peacefully expectant of each new direction.

I have lots of options, lots of good options (some great)– my friend calls the dilemma of not knowing which great option to take a “white girl problem.” (He’s neither. That’s why I find it so funny.) The main thing is, about one year ago, I was so frustrated at all the bad choices I’d made (and so resentful at those who’d hurt me) I was ready to off myself and, frankly, I don’t find myself there today. I’m grateful for life and excited, not only about the future but about today.

I reckon that’s all the listing of options I’ll do today. I hope none of it sounds like bragging. Let me hasten to say that I am humbled by my blessings and as any of you who have known me a while can attest, I have oftentimes, left to my own devices, found myself alone in a lonely room with a gun in one hand and a bottle in the other. Of myself I am nothing, it is the Divinity within me that does any and all good work.

My friend (a chef) has made us a beautiful gourmet breakfast which I’m now going to yum up before heading to meet with my old friend Jim O’Quinn (Editor in Chief of American Theatre Magazine and fellow Southern boy.) Tonight I’ll go to Sleep No More, an immersive theatre experience– it’s Macbeth without words, set in the 40s and in a hotel; the audience roams at will from room to room for around three hours. To some people I know, that would sound like hell. To me, it sounds like heaven on earth.

See y’all tomorrow.

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