Let me set the stage. It was November 2010 and I was living in Arizona at the time. There was a tour called the Night Kite Revival that was not coming anywhere near Arizona. I was determined to see this tour (as I later found out there wouldn't be a Revival tour the next year). So I decided if I need to travel to see the show, I would pull out all the stops. I was on internship then and making the best money of my life so I decided that I wouldn't just travel to see the show but I would do that and also visit a very good friend of mine.
I hopped one plane returning to my former home state (and favorite state) of Washington. I landed in Seatac and got one of the smallest planes I've ever been on for the short hop up to Bellingham, Washington. It was November 17. It was a Wednesday. The show was that night and I couldn't have been more excited. A spent a few hours exploring Western Washington Universities campus with Adam. The campus was beautiful, and it was a cold day but the winter storm hadn't come yet (that was later in the week). That night we headed to the Viking Union to get in line. We were early. We were, as I recall, one of the first 10 people in line.
We chatted with the people next to us, out of character for me, but it was easy to open up to strangers on a college campus like this. Time drew closer for doors open and we were already assured a front row seat when Buddy Wakefield comes out, looks at those of us huddled near the front of the door, and asks if any of us wants to open the show for the Revival. I would be surprised if my jaw didn't drop.
I had told many people that a dream of mine was to get up on stage with these poets and read my work along side there. I have written so many pieces in their voice accidentally. This was being asked on stage to sing with Billy Joel. This was the Dallas Cowboys tossing me a jersey and saying "you're in kid". This was being tapped during space camp to be launched to the moon and stand in Armstrong's foot print. There was just a little problem, I never carried my work with me. I apologized, said I had nothing with me, and did my best not to show too much grief. I was still going to be front row. I would still get to hear poems I'd never heard before, and listen to ones I had heard a hundred times spoken through the speakers in my laptop, but this time with the power of human lungs behind them.
As he continued down the line of people lined up for the show I flipped frantically through my phone tuning out the rest of what I assume was lovely conversation. I was on a mission. I would find, something, anything, I had written. This was before I heavily used dropbox, and before I wrote things directly on my phone. We were ushered in and Adam and I took our seats front and center when it finally happened, I found an old facebook message from 2-3 months prior where I had sent something to a friend of mine. I never really shared my work, and the reason I shared this one was it was something I was proud of. Something I could get up on stage and read and not feel embarrased by. This wasn't just an archived Facebook message, this was destiny.
I trotted back over to where Buddy was standing and let him know that I had found some of my work if he still needed volunteers to read. He opened his mouth to speak. This was it. He was about to pat me on the shoulder and toss me my game jersey and I was ready. I eagerly awaited his "Welcome aboard", but instead I was derailed. Two other people had volunteered to read. I said, "Ok. Well, I'm sitting right in the front row if you need anything". I guess I thought I might at least be able to bring him some water.
I walked back dejected.
I sat back down and delivered my bad news to Adam. I locked my phone and put it in my pocket.
What could only have been a few minutes later, Buddy Wakefield comes speedwalking down the front row, wearing a medical coat and head mirror. For those of you haven't seen Buddy Wakefield, no he is a large and intimidating man. He grabbed me by my ear and didn't say a word. He dragged my back stage where Anis and Derrick Brown were standing.
"The other volunteers thought they were just reading from our book. You wanted to read your own work right?"
"Do you still want to read?"
I finally said yes. I couldn't believe it, it had all fallen into place. Having thought I had lost the chance to do this not once, but twice, there was no more shyness standing in the way. No more stage fright to bring me down. I was going to do it. Not 3 months since I had determined to do this just one time in my life, I was going to do it.
And then, I did.
People walked up and congratulated me later. The revival gave me a DVD copy of The Elephant Engine High Dive Revival. They each signed a book for me. I was the kid that travelled from Arizona to the corner of the continental United States to see a poetry show. (I would later be the kid that travelled from Arizona to Utah the next time I would see Anis, and Arizona to Texas after that). I was the kid that read a short poem from his iPhone screen instage in front of dozens of people I would never see again except for Adam, and as it turned out, Anis. But to me, I was a kid who had accomplished a magic trick.
Scratch one on the bucket list.
The Presitge is my favorite Christopher Nolan movie and is one of the few movies that never manages to leave my top 10. It's hard to say too much about this movie without giving anything way so I'll keep it short and sweet. Wolverine vs. Batman.