Two things: I'm also blathering about Pam here, and I'd like to address the notion of "authentic" life.
This won't take long.
Why did I give Pam Grier a copy of Neon Lights? Because it's funny, it's smart, and it's about more than dollars and cents. Why do I like Pam Grier so much? Because she's funny, she's smart, and she's about more than dollars and cents. Authenticity has nothing to do with masks. We all wear a hundred differing masks in the course of a day. For some of us those masks are made of our flesh and soul flowing to meet those of others; for others those masks are made of plastic idiocies: the baubles of wealth, the foibles of personality dearth, the outright deceit of malice. For some of us it's not about flowing into and around another person, it's about crashing into them. It's all force and imposition. Force and imposition are marks of the inauthentic life. Me, I try not to insert myself without invitation. Ms. Grier was in my town recently to speak about the paths she's taken. I bought a ticket. When else am I going to see Pam Grier? I mailed a copy of Neon Lights care of the venue because I didn't want to be that guy, the one who stops the line because it's all about him. Then, on event day, I grabbed another copy in case she didn't get the mailing. What'd I do? I left it in the car. Intentionally. This wasn't about "Ms. Grier, please endorse my book so I sell millions of copies, please!" Wasn't about doing the shuky shuffle. But then, miracle of miracles, I was seated at the head table. Her table. And scanning the crowd I saw that others had brought her gifts, and that's what my book was meant to be: a gift. So I ran back to the car while she was doing the rounds of the room, signed the copy with a note of thanks, hustled back to the room... and held the book in my lap because, you know, THAT GUY. She returned to our table and told us about different things she was involved in, and there wasn't to my mind a moment to interrupt and say "HERE, MS. GRIER, READ MAH BOOK." So what I did was I waited. I flowed. She got up to talk to someone and I asked the person beside me to slide the book to her just as Pam sat back down. She looked at the cover, looked at me, flashed that lovely, devilish grin that is Pam Grier's and Pam Grier's alone, and said, "I'm gon' pray for you and anybody sitting next to you!" I think she saw in that cover more than dollars and cents, particularly coming from her background. Much love to Nathaniel Hebert for his outstanding design. She saw a bit of devilment, a bit of wonder, and a bit of respect. I took that copy of Neon Lights because she inspired the soul of the book in the best of ways, and that's what living the authentic life is about. Inspiring others. It's a human necessity to inspire one another to merge and flow. The thrill of Pam Grier liking my book enough to recommend it to others is electric; the thrill of somewhere, somehow Pam Grier laughing deeply because of what she read in my book whether I ever know it or not is stellar. The calming joy of saying "thanks" in my way, of the merging and flowing life lines of Ms. Pam Grier and myself, that's on par with the essential cosmic. I get that same thrill thinking of you.
Life, the universe, and everything creative
Towel Photo credit: EvelynGiggles via Foter.com / CC BY