The Homeless Above & Below


Photo by Teun Voeten of Tunnel People



Did you happen to notice the birds chirping yesterday and this morning, finally returning North after their nomadic winter sojourn? Fortunate enough to hear them in two boroughs and across four neighborhoods after waking up to see seagulls on a neighboring roof, I felt somehow more alive yesterday as the snow began to melt with the arrival of our birdsongs. On my way home last night, I began to read The Mole People by Jennifer Toth. Only twenty pages into the work, this author had already brought me into an oddly hope-filled but despairing world of the homeless living in the tunnels beneath the city, all within the span of her first chapter.

Somehow, the juxtaposition of Spring-inspired birds with a small glimpse into the true underbelly of society felt right. Realizing that black and white, deep despair and the ascent of freedom co-exist in the same city, air, time, and space takes some effort. An even greater challenge lies in trying to remember and live with that truth today, tomorrow, and for the rest of our limited lives. So often, we cling to our beliefs and fears so unwaveringly that we deny the other people and creatures who inhabit our Earth.

Spend some time outdoors today, hearing the birds, interacting with the homeless, the needy, the elderly, and the downtrodden. You know, those people we like to pretend we don’t see. In the end, we all die together, buried underneath the city and soaring through the heavens. Funny how we try so hard to forget the proximity of these extremes in life while setting all our hopes upon them in death. Wouldn’t we gain so much more from living in the truth, today?

Good Things Come… ~170


Yesterday began with another incredibly inspiring voice lesson with W. Stephen Smith and ended with subway singing with Carla Wesby and Robert Arthur Hughes of Opera Collective and some fantastic time spent, during and afterwards, with marvelous people. This morning, I had a one-on-one voice-over introduction lesson via Skype with Voices for All, as part of a deal I purchased through a deal-a-day website specifically designed for the entertainment industry called Holdon Log. All this, plus a full weekend and a packed upcoming Social Media Week signal a return for me to the very best of committed, happy living.

Although I continue to write about the Tableau Vivant, I take a brief pause in this content until at least Monday. Photographer Sarah Small has asked me to draft a portion of my perspective on the project for potential publication. Potentially good news for me, I obviously feel the need to focus on that direction for a few days before returning to write more here. Not believing in teasing my readers, I do promise to answer the long-awaited question of “what it all means” shortly. For now, I leave you with the top six things I’ve very happily learned in the past twenty-four hours (too good to narrow down to five). Until next time, enjoy a weekend worth living.

  • Singing truly parallels life. Living and singing in the moment, willingly exposed and without hesitation or apology, makes both more compelling, unique, and beautiful – to both singer and observer.
  • Performing underground with a group like Opera Collective can really help loosen up one’s acting in opera, jog one’s memory of older or newer repertoire, and provide a little extra cash. Don’t expect anonymity; five friends happened to stop by our location by the Times Square shuttle in less than three hours. Do listen to the accompaniment beforehand. If not, fully expect at least three of those friends to walk by during the absolute worst possible mistake of the day. Oh yeah.
  • Although I apparently do not have a voice well-suited for motherly voice-over acting, I look forward to hearing what type of roles Leah Frederick of Voices for All does think would suit me in her upcoming coaching evaluation.
  • When whisking Chukar Cherries Black Cherry Cocoa Mix, as per the instructions on the tin, one should expect a delicious and sweet-smelling mess. Some solid Andrew Bird, fresh juice, a bowl of cereal, and this fantastic hot chocolate make an excellent start to the day.
  • It took me a few decades, but I have begun to understand that patience really is a virtue, and good things really do come to those who wait. Not just clichés.
  • Although life best begins afresh when one decides to live regardless of the weather, the sound of birds chirping outside on a gray not-yet-spring morning never hurts.