Recently, I have spent a lot of time contemplating what I should do with my life, professionally. Artistically I feel confident in my direction, though having taught writing and humanities for the past eight years, my professional and artistic lives crisscross quite a bit. I will always write, it is a spiritual practice that makes me whole. Do I need to make money on my writing? No. Though it would be nice because than I could give more of myself to my writing--money, more than anything, can buy me time and energy. Those natural resources we are all born with--only given back to us in retirement after an honest lifetime's work.
Morganna grew up in Louisville with a mom who didn't love her, a dad who left them, and at age 14 she was working at a strip joint in Baltimore. At a baseball game in 1969, so overtaken with Pete Rose's charms, a friend dared her to kiss him. Morganna did it--she jumped onto the field and ran up to him before anyone could stop her. She had natural assets that gave her a leg up in her rise to stardom on the stripper's stage, but I believe what made her so endearing was the bold joy across her face as she jogged towards the target of her attraction. Something stuck me while I was thinking about her, watching the short documentary. I want to be like her.
My entire life I have been criticized for being idealistic. Even as a little guy. Like when I was eight years old and my dad explained to me what banks did with my money: namely, use it to make more money for themselves. I literally cried this upset me so much. A sincere, innate distaste for usury. At age 35, my idealism is my strength: it is my vision, my intuition, my conviction, my faith, my high standards, my excellence. But here is where I am stuck: how can I use this strength to pay my mortgage?
What I often ask myself is this: what can I do that expresses the underlying potency and brilliance of being alive? If one does not engage with this question, then why live and struggle and be? We each have our own answer. But it's more complicated than simply discovering this because our economies necessitate the accrual of capital. Without it, we can only hope for others' generosity. So the age-old question many of us have asked and which is never so real as when you are the caretaker of children: how to engage my soul in this light of living and get paid for it? Or: how to divide my time and energies between soul work, money work, and family life?
Bold joy. Seeing it across Morganna's face, I knew something more about what is inside of me. I knew there is something that I can do which will show the world this exuberance--something I can do for others that is a testament to life's brilliance. Morganna reminded me that I should be bold.
But is it naive to have faith that this boldness will be rewarded financially? It absolutely is. So, despite the misgivings of my youth, maybe I'll have to strip on the side. Shake my moneymaker. Goddamn right.
I'm good with all that: banks, interest, markets, nudity--mine and others. Though greed and consumerism are things I can still soapbox about, I feel empowered to approach the world in quite an opposite way than I did in my 20s. Honest to god, when I was 22, my goal was to be poor. A poor poet existing at the heart of ravaged human experience. I had it good growing up, and I knew there was wisdom afforded to those who had it bad--I wanted it. I am more empathetic, more expansive because of it. But now, I want money. Not money and money only, but engagement with society in a way that adds value. And Morganna shows me an aspect of value that is often overlooked: how we become transfixed by bold joy--how we will pay our money for intangibles. What it means to captivate, to lead, to step out of line. Goddamn if I don't hop a fence and run. You better believe it's gonna make people smile.