from silent retreat to silent movie

so i spent a little over a week at a silent retreat in massachusetts. it was really beautiful and the weather was kind of perfect. . . only got a little muggy and hot over the weekend. i thought i had planned everything out. . . knowing that i would get my period, i had the proper provisions. . . and i brought some food, since i didn’t really know what to expect. . . i had plenty of tea and honey. . . what i didn’t prepare or count on was getting a cold. . .

it was actually really chilly my first three days there. . . and i felt a suspicious tickle in my throat the first night. two and a half days in, and i had a full head cold. not exactly what you are hoping for when you are being asked to breathe and meditate calmly. i was lucky that i was the only one around for the first part of the week. i’d hate to share the meditation space and be constantly buggy anyone else by blowing my nose and sniffling.

the entire week was exceedingly quiet and serene. . . just what i was looking for. i listened to some music on certain days, hiked on and near the appalachian trail, meditated, reflected. . . fell asleep whenever i felt like it. it was pretty great. i got a little restless over the weekend, but it passed over and i felt ready to get onto other tasks by the time i left.

i called mom and dad on my way home. mom asked if i was up for a themed movie that night. . . themed?

it was a silent movie, with a live organist being hosted at her college. it seemed rather fitting. . . turned out to be a buster keaton movie- the general- and the organist was pretty talented. can’t imagine having to keep up with a movie that i haven’t seen and continuously adding a score off the top of my head. . . that’s a special talent.

not a bad way to re-enter the regular world,


lightness. . .

about a week before i was to leave santa fe i had this interesting experience. i got up in the morning, everything just as usual. i started my stretching routine, and maybe i stayed a little longer on my back trying to relax my face. i’ve noticed that i hold a lot of tension in my face, for whatever reason. as i sat up to start stretching my legs (the positions where i feel the most tension from hurting my back) there was this ease that i hadn’t felt for a while. each of the stretches was totally easy, no pain, no strain, and i was reaching farther than i had in years probably. i moved around trying to find the pain and stiffness i am used to, but i couldn’t. everything was tension free.

then i realized it didn’t confine itself to my body. my mind was lighter. i sent myself through a quick gauntlet of painful memories to see how i would react to them. nothing stuck. everything rolled off my back gently. i felt enlivened and powerful. sometime during the course of the day i lost sight of that feeling and was immersed in the business of the day, but for a whole morning i was untouchable, strong and clear. this is the feeling i was hoping to achieve during my silent retreat time. i don’t know if i will get there again, but i was there for a bit so there’s a possibility that i will find it again.


if you love something. . .

set if free?

i remember littering the signature page of letters between pen pals with little sayings like that. ‘longer letter later’ (all made with one large L), sorry so short (all made with one large S), 2 people + 2 cool = 4 school and other silly little tag lines that were ever apparent and adjusted through our adolescence. “if you love something, set it free. if it returns, it was always meant to be. if it doesn’t, it was never yours to start with.” ?. . . is that how it went? i’m possibly paraphrasing, but it’s along that line.

at the time we wrote about it according to our crushes and whichever heavy metal hair band member we idolized over that month. when i think of one pen pal in particular, she’s been through a marriage, a divorce and is now raising two children. she’s been in and outta love from high school on (HA, kudos to those who caught the bon jovi reference!). i’ve avoided it like the plague. watching the roller coaster ride from the side can be amusing, lonely, and relieving all at the same time. i didn’t exactly realize i was just watching from a different ride.

i love my job.

i love my work.

theatrical electrician. . . says so on the card.

i don’t know how else to put it into words. when i tell the uninitiated what i do, many times they get this inflated and glamourous picture in their head. they think of the largest spectacled shows they’ve ever seen and imagine me there. i could try and correct their vision, but most often i get just as excited.

“NO! i didn’t work on that, but i did work on something else that was just as cool and magical for it’s own reasons. i know it inside and out and there is no way in hell i could explain it to the uninitiated, you would be completely bored with the details and i would lose you in the technicalities. but when all the little parts come together it created this art in motion that moved people, that impressed people, that made me proud. and there is no way i can impart that feeling in you other than to be just as excited, so i will nod my head and say, ‘yeah, it’s something like that.’”

for the ‘it’ crowd, the ones that understand. . . they know, or have an idea of where i stand. so i can get them excited by talking about the ‘boring’ details, and ‘mundane’ technicalities. but i can infuse them with the excitement i have about them. . . and infect them. it’s a tack i use when hiring or teaching class. i’ve seen it work, without a doubt- and i tend to be doubtful. but i have infected others, in the best sense. i’ve even been thanked. i might miss that part the most- the infection.

my work has been my greatest passion. and i don’t mean to make it out to be bigger than it is. i assist in the creation of a fake world for fake people that others watch for enjoyment. . . i didn’t cure cancer or anything.

so from a week after my high school graduation through today i’ve worked in technical theatre. yeah, there were two stints in college there too, but i was constantly working in technical theatre, constantly putting up a show, constantly in the design or implementation phase. late june 1993 through september 2007, some 14 years? (if we wanted to get technical, since i most often worked more than 40 hour weeks, we could start adjusting the years. . . but let’s not get technical) short by many standards. . . and yet, here i plan to leave. i won’t promise, since i don’t like to make a liar of myself. but i think i might be done. and i just found out i made it into a larger professional publication, picture and all. ironic. . .

if you love something, set it free.

. . . . . .

wonder if i get alimony?

. . . . . .

now what?


sniff 1

sniff 1, originally uploaded by ekissam.

i took one of the apprentices to the airport this year. i got this message before i went to pick him up. he had been teary eyed all day, and before he got on the plane i snuck a package of tissues into his hard hat which he was going to carry on board since it didn't fit into his luggage. then we exchanged texts before he boarded. - sometimes it's the silly little things that make the hard days pass more easily.

sniff 2

sniff 2, originally uploaded by ekissam.

sniff 3

sniff 3, originally uploaded by ekissam.

sniff 4

sniff 4, originally uploaded by ekissam.

sniff 5

sniff 5, originally uploaded by ekissam.

sniff 7

sniff 7, originally uploaded by ekissam.

sniff 8

sniff 8, originally uploaded by ekissam.