What we are looking—-
Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy appearance in San Francisco is coming up April 21st
I played a month long string of high school shows in 2000 that included: Chinle High School in the Navajo Nation, Robert F. Kennedy High School in Delano, California and Cupertino High School in the high tech center of the universe Silicon Valley. The Heavyweight Championship of the World of Opportunity according to busking was the chance to work with Navajo Native Americans, the offspring of the United Farm Workers and the cresting wave of students sited at the center of the digital revolution.
The external tour was accompanied with a simultaneous inner tour. A personal stalemate hit me hook, line and sinker. The younger self was going to have to make room for the emerging more mature self, the soul could not expand and grow if held hostage to fool youths thousand errors.
For a showman a piece of our equipment is the interior-emotional-psychological realm right out in the open in full view of our audience. I had resolved to give my audience the most pristine unvarnished experience I could muster. I sought to retrieve my integrity.
Steer and Aim with Heart
I experimented. Too honest, too sweet, too much of anything was too much. Balance came into play. Laughs? Sure, but not at the expense of others. Applause? When it is earned not asked for. Life is a full contact sport. Acknowledging the wounding is a chance for us to speak honestly about our what hurts.
“Reach into your chest pocket and pull out your magic pen. This is the magic pen you use to write the story of your life.” I would get all the children to raise their imaginary pen high into the air. “This is your story, the one you steer right through the center of your heart, between what you trust and know and doubt and fear. Your story is a great story. Whether it is the work you do at school, the teeth you need to brush, or telling your mom and dad when they tuck you into bed as they give you a kiss goodnight that you love them.” I would place my pen back into my pocket. “So lets all put our pens away for now. When you wake up tomorrow, don’t forget about your pen, it’s your magic pen, write with it, this is your story, be the author of your life…”
I don’t do this every show. It works with children until the age when the end of innocence arrives. The conceit and symbolism of the magic pen is a little much from that moment until they are old enough to resolve the deeper contradictions confronted in a world desperate for more willing souls daring to live their lives written out loud. You and I— we— all of the world have noticed the Stoneman Douglas High School Students have picked up their pens.
Two thousand miles I roamed
Just to make this dock my home
Buy a book, book a show, surf around the site. And hope you’ll come back. I’ll be here trying to keep it real…