It is hard to explain the importance of people in your life. But I have to say knowing Jon has been rather important. Why? Cause we are very similar people. We are both angsty artists who battle the demons of art making daily. We are both extremely intelligent. We both love to be the center of attention while on stage. Jon is the husband of my life coach. I met him in the role of accountability partner. Jon helped me apply to college but more importantly came over to the house I lived on in Bryn Mawr in 2007 and he came over for dinner with myself and my roommate Anne, once or twice. We would drink tea, talk about Japan, as Anne had been there and I have a great interest. And Jon would make us laugh as he developed his performance character, Zen Master Zero. It was a ball. I was depressed at the time and Jon was a humorous light spot within that.
So to the day at Walker Open Field. It was still raining and the official activities ended early or had been cancelled. Jon had gotten some lunch while he waited for my Mom and I to return. Jon got a magenta/pink rain plastic poncho from the Walker. It said something amazing and Walker-y like "It is Happening" or something. A wonderful conceptual saying to wear on a performance walk.
We walked up the hill behind the Walker and there was a man with a cassette tape player and headset staring off into the distance. I wondered if something profound would happen...like he would say something insightful or rageful and it would be our first benchmark. But he just kept staring off into the distance. Jon and I walked into the neighborhood and we chatted about how as an artist most of the time you feel what you do is shit. Till at the last moment you think it's wonderful and then you fall back to feeling like shit. This led to the great thought that the highlights, the things you strive for are never the things that feel fantastic. It's the unexpected moments that feel the greatest. That perfect conversation. The accidental discovery. The random person you meet that loves your work. It isn't the big shows. The things you work SO hard to get to. It is the surprises.
So we walked. It kept raining. Every once in awhile Jon would squeeze my hand not completely but in pulses of two or three. Lightly. It reminded me that we were holding hands. It was reassuring to hold Jon's hand. I felt VERY GROUNDED on this walk. Possibly the most I ever had. Though we were talking about religion and art and life...I felt very grounded. Like from my very root I was being nailed to the ground.
Jon discussed how believing in a religion is a feeling not a thought. That what feels right, feels right. This coming up after we passed the Unitarian Meeting Hall. As intellectuals, I think this is an important conversation. That we can go around and around but sometimes there are no answers. Or not one answer. Or no explanation for certain things. I think that is why I turned to binge eating and why I was depressed for so long. I needed answers and the answer is no answer. Oh how Zen. Ah so.
So on we went, Jon mentions in his writing how it didn't feel like an art project. (Shhhhh don't tell the Walker) But rather just a walk with a friend. I am actually worried that maybe this just isn't art anymore. That the boundary and art and life have collapsed. There is no reason to be doing this. That Kaprow would scoff at my performance and intentions. But why did it take an art project to get Jon and I to walk together? It would probably not be ok for me to hold Jon's hand, even though Laurie and Jon are very liberal, in every day life. Art gave me this transgression of the every day. Art gave me this space to bring joy to my life and to Jon's. How nice. Thanks art. And as Jon also wrote he had just been talking to a consultant/activist named Dylan that the best ideas come from "peripatetic pedestrian experiences." There is nothing more pedestrian than walking. And hell if I remember what peripatetic means. it is too hot outside to remember.
So in contrast to an intense family walk, here I walked with someone who is a mentor and an equal. Someone who validates my interest in, well everything I am interested in. Art, philosophy, religion...though I don't think Jon watches sports. Jon and I were brought to the present moment. We were allowed big thoughts in the rain. We were allowed to think about as Jon put it "the limits of our ability to understand REALITY." From housing issues to Catholicism to The Situationists we covered all that but we did it in a mundane, pedestrian way. It was so magical.
It really started to pour as we headed back down the hill. I worried about Jon's watch getting ruined in the rain. We were terribly soaked around the edges of our rain gear. I was very cold. We wrote inside as my mom waited to have lunch with me and Jon went to watch The Clock.
On a side note, as this project has been about me opening up to the idea of loving in a romantic sense. Jon and Laurie are my role models in that field. They are one of the few truly happy couples I know. Last time, I saw Jon, he said an amazing thing. That at the time I found strange maybe even a little uncomfortable because I have been alone for so long. But now it rings so true I have to bring it up.
We were at an awesome Cambodian place Jon brought me to. He was innocently discussing how much he adores his and Laurie's kittens. How they lick eachother to help eachother bathe. How they push eachother playfully around on the bed And I burst out, "Wow that sounds lovely. I wish I could play like that with someone." Not thinking how, well, sexual and how personal that was of me to say. It just spit out of my mouth. Imagine, two kittens. That carefree love and attention they lavish on each other. Completely unselfconsciously.
Jon with out skipping a beat and with the most sincerity said, "Yes it is fun. You deserve that. And you will find it." Something to that effect but better said. It was a lovely thing to say. Not condemning for not having it yet. Not rejecting my sexuality by thinking my comment weird. For him as a mentor, to accept that I deserve that type of care was something no man in any role had done for me. He didn't deny me my whole personality. He didn't deny that cultivating love with another person isn't important. With that silly example of two beings caring for eachother in such a carefree way really resonated with me. I find it sad it took this long to realize I could cultivate that type of space in my life. Thanks Jon. I believe you now.