do you listen to it (this american life)? you should… it’s awesome. it’s a weekly radio show from WBEZ, a public radio station in Chicago… and each week there is a theme and a variety of stories on that theme (I am basically hearing Ira Glass’ voice in my head right now as many of you others who also listen are… right?).
anyway, the only rationale I have for this being on topic is that I think part of what’s happening this “month” is that my appreciation for other art forms is enhanced. i’ve found myself more connected to books, performances, shows, movies, etc after a long period of time of not as much interest in them as I’m used to. this american life=art. dammit.
now back to the off-topic stuff. i was listening to an older episode of the show on my iPhone app and it was one of those that was interesting and entertaining… and that was it (sometimes they are shocking and moving or disturbing and thrilling, yadda yadda). Until… Act Three:
You can listen to the entire episode here. or… just Act Three
… and I strongly encourage you to… it’s more emotive that way, but as it turns out… they provide a transcript on their website too which I can only assume is to make the lives of bloggers easier. Thank you, this american life. I love you more today than ever.
I know you are going to read what I write before you listen so I’ll continue and then you can promise to go back and experience the art as it was intended. The story is about a guy named John Perry Barlow who meets the love of his life (his “soul mate” if you will) by chance at a venue where two very different conventions were occurring (his: a Steve Jobs roast, and hers: a Psychiatry convention). They fall in love at first sight, and (spoiler alert) tragedy brings their relationship to an untimely end.
The transcript from my favorite moment:
John Perry Barlow
So this whole episode, from the moment I saw her there in the hallway of the ANA, to the moment where I watched her walk onto the aircraft was one of the really central passages of my life. And after that, everything was different.
John Perry Barlow
Well, no, not– actually, I wouldn’t say that. In many ways, not at all. Because one of the things that came out of it was that prior to this, I didn’t believe in the soul. I mean I think that within us we’re two spirits that had always– I mean, there’s really just no way to say this without sounding incredibly sappy. But we were the same soul. And having seen that, that changes everything.
Now that you’ve had this experience with her, do you find that you have this experience all the time, in a smaller form, where you’ll meet a group of strangers and there will be one whose eyes strikes you. And you think, OK, I can see a part of this thing.?
John Perry Barlow
Absolutely. I mean I feel an ability to attach on a moment to moment basis that is completely unlike anything that I felt prior to that. And I think it’s sometimes a little disconcerting to other people, because it’s genuine on my side. And people are not used to having somebody just dock emotionally that instantaneously. For one thing, I feel like I can see their souls. Their souls are visible to me.
and… that’s when I realize that I’m holding my breath and inside my head I hear my own voice shouting:
I do that! I can totally do that! I can and do do that!
and then I conclude that I am not crazy, because if JPB is on this american life describing experiences I have and he’s not described as crazy then I am also not crazy… because this american life is the authority on all things sane.
But really, I have spent so much time in the last ten years not being myself, and not accepting and loving my gifts. I have judged them and second guessed them and tried to keep them hidden away. And now that I am choosing to live without limits I am completely overwhelmed by the things I am discovering, recalling, remembering, and reframing… The last week has been so FULL of mind blowing experiences that I am choosing to experience through surrender that it is all I can do to just keep my feet planted on the ground and my head pointed at the sky lest I float away never to be heard from again…
I was just telling 38 that my blog persona and my real persona are starting to blend together. For safety’s sake I have kept them somewhat separate (meaning, I don’t tell you about all of my deepest, darkest thoughts and fears, and in general I stay in a loving space when I’m here), but the longer I do this the more I find myself having the same conversations in real life (with others and inside my own head) as I do with all of you here and I think that instead of coming here to pretend to be a little more enlightened, or happier, or more peaceful than I really am… I can just let this be who I really am.
and so it is.
I can see souls. They are visible to me.